Making The COVID Vaccine Annual Like The Flu Shot - SpecialtyRx
February 27, 2023
Making The COVID Vaccine Annual Like The Flu Shot

FDA Requests Making The COVID Shot Annual For Most Americans

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked the vaccine advisory panel to create a proposal that would make the COVID vaccine an annual shot for most Americans.

According to the CDC, More than 80% of Americans have at least one dose of the vaccine, but only 16% of those people, age five or older, have gotten an updated booster since its approval last August. On January 26th, the committee met and reviewed documents filed with the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

The FDA noted in the documents, “the totality of the available evidence on prior exposure to and vaccination against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) suggests that moving forward, most individuals may only need to receive one dose of an approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine to restore protective immunity for a period of time.”

For the very young, seniors, and immunocompromised, it was noted that two doses might be needed, but the shot would be similar to the one used for the flu.

At the hearing, some researchers agreed that the plan could boost vaccine uptake and simplify the COVID immunization process. But, other researchers argued that healthy adults should receive an annual shot.

Angela Shen, a vaccine specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania and a former member of the CDC advisory panel, said, “conceptually not a bad idea.” She also said SARS-CoV-2 creates variants at a different rate than the flu. “Just scratching out ‘flu’ and replacing it with ‘COVID’ on all the documents might not work because COVID is not the flu,” says Shen.

Furthermore, researchers are questioning the timing of the shot and coordinating it with COVID uptakes. The panel will meet again in May or June to discuss the issues brought up, including if the vaccine should include one strain of SARS-CoV-2 or two.

“The questions and concerns at the panel must be addressed because a yearly dose of the COVID vaccine could be beneficial to long-term care facilities and make the process easier,” – SpecialtyRx Operations Specialist, Saba Ansari-Pharm.D.