Perhaps ‘A New Normal’ Henceforth With Annual Covid-19 Shots

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  • Widespread vaccine- and infection-induced immunity, combined with the availability of effective therapeutics, could blunt the effects of future outbreaks.
  • Nonetheless, it is time to accept that the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is the new normal.
  • It will likely circulate globally for the foreseeable future, taking its place alongside other common respiratory viruses such as influenza.
  • It is important to recognize that the fall season will present a major opportunity to improve COVID-19 vaccination coverage

According to a trio of top US Food and Drug Administration experts, the US may need to update its Covid-19 vaccines every year, and “a new normal” may involve an annual Covid-19 vaccine alongside a seasonal flu shot as reported by CNN.

Future outbreaks 

“Widespread vaccine- and infection-induced immunity, combined with the availability of effective therapeutics, could blunt the effects of future outbreaks.”

Nonetheless, it is time to accept that the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is the new normal.

It will likely circulate globally for the foreseeable future, taking its place alongside other common respiratory viruses such as influenza.

“And it likely will require similar annual consideration for vaccine composition updates,” Dr Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research; Principal Deputy Commissioner Dr Janet Woodcock; and new FDA Commissioner Dr Robert Califf wrote in a paper published in the medical journal JAMA on Monday.

“During the 2022-2023 COVID-19 vaccine planning and selection process, it is important to recognize that the fall season will present a major opportunity to improve COVID-19 vaccination coverage with the goal of minimizing future societal disruption and saving lives,” they wrote. 

Additional doses 

Last week, the FDA announced plans to convene its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee on June 28 to discuss whether the composition of current Covid-19 vaccines should be modified, and if so, what updates should be selected for the fall.

VRBPAC members met in April to discuss how the composition of Covid-19 vaccines could change to target any new and emerging coronavirus variants.

The committee agreed that there needs to be a framework for how and when such changes take place.

The advisers plan to continue their conversation in the coming months.

“Administering additional COVID-19 vaccine doses to appropriate individuals this fall around the time of the usual influenza vaccine campaign has the potential to protect susceptible individuals against hospitalization and death, and therefore will be a topic for FDA consideration,” Marks, Woodcock and Califf wrote.

Certain immunocompromised people and adults 50 and older are eligible for additional booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in the United States.

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Source: CNN

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