FDA To Make The Covid Vaccine Annual Like The Flu Shot

The FDA is revising its COVID-19 vaccine strategy and will reportedly begin developing a yearly vaccine based on the current dominant strain, similar to how the flu shot is administered.

By Ryan Clancy | Published

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The Food and Drug Administration is changing how they approach administering the COVID-19 vaccine. They are rethinking what is the best route to ensure most people will accept the vaccine, and they think the best course is one similar to the flu vaccine. 

For the COVID-19 vaccine, instead of so many boosters, there would be an annual update to match the yearly dominant strain and give people the necessary protection. This new proposal was set out in the administration’s Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC). The members of the organization will then decide whether the proposal should go ahead or not. 

At the moment, if people want to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, they have to get two vaccinations spaced two weeks apart, then wait two months before receiving any booster shots. But under this new plan, people will receive one vaccination annually, that is it. 

The vaccine manufacturers would start the research process to find out the dominant strain of the virus for the new vaccine in the Spring of that year, with the vaccine being produced for patients later that year. 

If more dangerous strains were to appear within the year, the vaccines could be updated on an emergency basis. As vaccine uptake is decreasing, the FDA needs a new plan to revive the COVID-19 vaccination program. 

Some experts are optimistic about a yearly booster, as they say it protects the population while new and better vaccines are being developed and refined for the mass market.

Some people are sure that this would reduce the vaccine’s effectiveness, and with the low uptake of the last booster, would it even interest the public to move the program to a yearly booster? Most people are of the opinion that they are more protected by the natural immunity they have to the virus after being infected by it than they are by any of the vaccines. 

Other people are of the mindset that the virus is rapidly morphing so that it cannot be matched to a yearly booster, as it would be impossible to pick a strain. The virus has not settled into an annual rhythm like the flu vaccine. Also, they need to research the clinical efficacy of the vaccines and antibody tests they are working with now to ensure they are working optimally. The FDA should require proof that the new vaccines are doing their job and protecting the citizens of America. 

Some critics believe investing in better vaccines, rather than rushing new ones out every year, would regain people’s faith in medicine. Vaccines that actually protect people from getting the vaccine at all would be something that could change the public’s perception. Alternative forms of the vaccine, such as a nasal spray and tablet, would also help people afraid of needles be more comfortable receiving the vaccine. While the vaccines are being developed, the virus is turning into an endemic disease which means it is not going away any time soon and will still be a health risk for all.