FDA May Overhaul Covid Vaccine Strategy

January 23, 2023

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reportedly considering overhauling the nation’s Covid-19 vaccine strategy. 

The FDA aims to simplify the vaccine against Covid and possibly adopt an approach similar to the flu vaccine, with annual updates to match whatever strain of the Covid virus is currently circulating, a federal official not authorized to speak publicly told NPR.

The FDA is set to publicly outline the strategy on Monday in advance of a Thursday meeting of the agency’s Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. That committee would then vote on the FDA’s proposal. 

Currently, to be fully vaccinated against Covid, one must first get the primary vaccination—two shots of the original vaccine spaced weeks apart. That’s followed two months later by a booster. 

Under the FDA’s proposed overhaul, most people would be advised to simply get the latest version of the vaccine, the same way they get an annual flu shot. 

Vaccine makers would update the annual shot through a process that would begin each spring to try a match the vaccine as closely as possible to whatever variant will likely be dominant in the coming winter—the same way the flu vaccine is formulated each year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 79% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, while 68% is currently considered fully vaccinated. Another 33% have received a booster shot.

However, the latest CDC records show that only about 3% of America’s children have completed their primary series of Covid vaccines. That stat is driven down by children under 5. However, for children ages 5-11 the CDC says only about 30% have received their primary Covid vaccines.

Generally, anyone six months or older qualifies to receive the Covid vaccine, according to the CDC.

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