A plan is in the works to make this an annual event like the annual flu shot. More than 80% of the United States population has received an initial shot but only 16% are getting boosters. Biden authorized and received his fifth booster even though he still contracted the virus. The FDA has simplified the periodic process to protect against the mutating virus. Vaccine experts will weigh in Thursday.
Biden emphasized the ease of getting those boosters, “If you’re fully vaccinated, get one more COVID shot. Once a year. That’s it.” Dr. Anthony Fauci had spoken about this earlier, that people “very well may need to get booster shots to keep up the level of protection.”
The possibility of annual booster shots was raised back in 2021. Due to vaccinations and/or infections, FDA scientists think most Americans have “sufficient preexisting immunity” against COVID.
Baseline for boosters
That baseline should be enough to move to an annual booster being able to protect everybody. The FDA will ask that panel to vote on whether the vaccine should target the same strains.
That would make it interchangeable so the system of initial vaccinations and following boosters can be phased out. The first shots from Pfizer and Moderna were considered the primary series. This targeted the virus from Wuhan, China that eventually swept the world.
Updated shots last fall were aimed at dominant omicron relatives. It’s actually still unclear as to whether the latest round of boosters actually works, especially for those who are young and healthy. Experts are still debating it.
People won’t have to keep track of what shots have been received or how many months it’s been since their last one. Boosters are a hard sell now. A two dose combination may be necessary for those with weak immune systems or very small children.