FDA advisers are ready to consider a one-and-done annual covid booster plan

Rate this post

The message has come through loud and clear that Americans have had enough of frequent Covid vaccinations. Food and Drug Administration advisers are meeting to discuss issues like which coronavirus strains would be in an annual vaccine and how they would be chosen.

Documents released earlier this week compared the agency’s desired approach to the annual flu immunization effort. As it stands now, anyone getting a covid vaccine for the first time is getting a vaccine designed in 2020, when the virus looked very different than it does today. The new strategy would require health officials to meet each year to review which virus strains should be included in vaccines, just as they do for the flu, for use in September.

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

Healthy adults would receive a Covid vaccine each fall in the FDA plan, while children, the elderly and those with compromised immunity would receive two doses. Ad-hoc boosters could be used if a particularly vaccine-evasive Covid strain emerges.

Drugmakers Moderna Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Novavax Inc. are scheduled to present clinical data on their injections, according to a draft agenda released ahead of the meeting.

divided experts

When the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee last met in June, they proposed the booster currently in use that targets the omicron variants that were prevalent at the time. The move raised the possibility of creating new reinforcements to combat each new variant.

Experts are divided on whether this would be the best way to continue tackling Covid-19. Not long after the booster shots were released in September, new variants emerged. The new shots did not turn out to be as popular. Only 15% of Americans have received the latest booster, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At Thursday’s meeting, experts will review CDC data on Covid trends and variants and the effectiveness and safety of the initial vaccine and the most recent booster. They will also hear from the National Institutes of Health on the development of next-generation vaccines.

The advisory committee will review this data, discuss the issues, and make recommendations to the agency. The FDA is not required to follow their recommendations, but it usually does.

“There are a lot of rumors, gossip and anecdotal cases that people want to share, but we really want to see the data,” said Archana Chatterjee, dean of the Chicago Medical School and a member of the panel. “What is reported in terms of adverse events? What is the effectiveness of the vaccine against these variants? This is a moving target.”

Leave a Comment