Health officials are looking to administer Covid-19 vaccinations annually, like Flu shots.
For future vaccination efforts, the FDA proposed Monday that most adults and children will receive a once-a-year shot to protect against mutating viruses.
If approved, Americans wouldn’t need to keep track of their vaccination statuses.
While more than 80% of the U.S. population has received at least one vaccine dose, only 16% of those eligible have received the latest booster dose.
As part of its decision on future vaccine requirements for manufacturers, the FDA is expected to ask its panel of outside vaccine experts to provide input Thursday.
According to the FDA, many Americans have a “sufficient preexisting immunity” to the coronavirus due to vaccination, infection, or a combination of both.
In the future, COVID-19 vaccinations will be more similar to flu shots in protecting against the latest strains in circulation.
A two-dose combination might be required to protect extremely young children and individuals with compromised immune systems.
Manufacturers and scientists will analyze vaccine rates, illness rates, and other data to decide if a single injection is better than a two-dose series.
In addition, the FDA will request a vote from its panel on whether all vaccinations need to focus on the same strains. Making the doses interchangeable would be necessary to eliminate the current complex system of initial vaccines and boosters.
Pfizer and Moderna’s first vaccines targeted the strain of the virus that first appeared in 2020. The updated boosters launched last fall targeted dominant omicron relatives.
According to the FDA’s proposal, it will decide annually by early summer which strains to target, giving manufacturers several months to prepare and launch updated shots.
The FDA says moving to an annual schedule would facilitate future vaccination campaigns, thereby increasing vaccination rates across the country.