FDA officials begin work on annual COVID vaccine plan

Washington: US health officials would like to reduce the frequency of COVID-19 vaccinations to just one per year, and on Thursday they began discussing how to do so.

The message has gotten through loud and clear that Americans are already fed up with frequent COVID vaccinations. Food and Drug Administration advisers meet to discuss issues such as: B. what strains of coronavirus would be included in an annual vaccine and how they would be selected.

A syringe of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Chester, Pennsylvania.

A syringe of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Chester, Pennsylvania.Credit:AP

Documents released earlier this week compared the American agency’s desired approach to annual flu vaccination efforts. As things stand, anyone who gets a COVID vaccine for the first time will receive a vaccine that was developed in 2020, when the virus looked very different than it does today. The new strategy would require health officials to meet each year to consider which strains of the virus should be included in the shots, just as with the flu, to be used every September before the northern winter.

“I don’t think we can go after every new variant because the virus changes so much,” said committee member Stanley Perlman, a professor of immunology at the University of Iowa who sits on the FDA panel. “It makes it harder to convince people because if someone doesn’t want to get an injection every four months, the answer might be, ‘Well, I’m not going to get an injection at all.'”

Healthy adults would receive a COVID shot each fall under the FDA plan, while children, the elderly and those with compromised immunity would receive two doses. Ad hoc booster shots could be used if a particularly vaccinated strain of COVID emerges.

The drug manufacturers Moderna, Pfizer and Novavax are to present clinical data on their recordings. FDA staff and advisors discussed safety signals from a database that found a higher risk of stroke in older adults who received Pfizer’s updated booster shot. The signals have not been included in other major databases, FDA officials said, but the agency will continue to investigate the issue.


The FDA also said it plans to conduct an epidemiological study to evaluate co-administration of flu and COVID vaccines ahead of the 2023-2024 flu season. Moderna and Pfizer are each developing shots that target both viruses.

When the FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Committee last met in June, they proposed the booster vaccine currently in use, which targets the then-dominant Omicron variants. The move opened up the ability to create new boosters to combat each new variant.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/moving-target-us-health-officials-start-work-on-annual-covid-vaccine-plan-20230127-p5cfu2.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world FDA officials begin work on annual COVID vaccine plan

Callan Tansill

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