The Food and Drug Administration desires to switch to a streamlined COVID-19 booster plan. However, the response to this proposal demonstrates that this is a complex subject.
As per US News, in documents revealed this week, the FDA advocated a booster injection method comparable to the flu vaccine schedule, with an updated dose matched to circulating strains administered annually in the fall to the majority of Americans. On Thursday, its group of outside vaccination experts will meet to discuss the issue. However, other experts question if the existing data supports this idea.
“The essential question is: How frequently do we need to be revaccinated? And I don’t believe we have a conclusive answer,” Joachim Hombach of the World Health Organization said on Tuesday during a press briefing.
Hombach stated that it is possible that the booster period may be yearly but expressed concern because COVID-19 has not yet become seasonal, with summer, fall, and winter spikes.
Hombach added that, for the time being, COVID had not exhibited the seasonality that is typically observed with other respiratory viruses. “The virus is highly unstable. This is a bit of a prediction that we will end up in a seasonal pattern, such as we have for influenza.” Maria Van Kerkhove of the WHO concurred that the coronavirus and its many forms continue to provide uncertainty.
“We do not yet know the frequency of this. Van Kerkhove stated, referring to the virus by its scientific moniker, that SARS-CoV-2 has not yet established a pattern in terms of its progression. “We have not yet observed a seasonal pattern, notably in the planet’s temperate zones. And we may eventually get there, but we’re not there yet.”
Carlos del Rio of the Emory University School of Medicine stated that he recognizes the need for a policy but that the virus continues to throw curveballs and hamper planning.
During a Tuesday briefing, del Rio, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, stated, “I think we’d want to see something basic and comparable to influenza.” “However, I believe that the science must also guide this knowledge, and I believe that the science is currently lacking.”
He stated that further research is required to generate vaccinations of the next generation that are more effective at preventing infection. “My request is that we continue to conduct the study, follow the science, and base our judgments on science rather than what is most convenient for the majority,” del Rio stated.
According to current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, the great majority of Americans are inadequately immunized. 15% of Americans have had the latest COVID-19 booster dose, which raises concerns about vaccine fatigue in any future plan.
However, the FDA’s decision does not come as a surprise, considering that officials of the Biden administration and President Joe Biden have advocated for a switch to a yearly COVID-19 vaccination.
Biden stated in October at the White House when he received his revised COVID-19 booster shot, “for the majority of Americans, one COVID shot per year will be enough.” “And if you obtain it, you will be safeguarded. And if you don’t, you put yourself and others in unnecessary danger.” However, his plan still raised concerns.
Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research, tweeted at the time, “Unfortunately, there are no facts to support this statement.” It is probable that second-generation vaccinations will be able to achieve this goal but to do so would require priority and resources, which are not being allocated.