Experts Think COVID-19 Vaccine Could Become A Yearly Shot

The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be not going anytime soon after entering its second year this 2022. Should it continue for many more years, experts believe the world could see the vaccine jabs becoming a yearly thing, just like flu shots. 

Periodic Vaccination In The Time Of COVID

Flu shots are available yearly because every flu season is different. The viruses that cause the condition mutate rapidly, so new strains tend to surface every year. And since flu is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death, health organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have been urging the public to get their flu shots every year. 

With the multiple SARS-CoV-2 mutations happening in parts of the world, some experts are seeing a pattern that could lead to COVID-19 vaccination becoming a yearly thing, similar to how new flu shots become available every fall season. 

“In order to keep it under control, we likely will need some form of periodic vaccination. Now, whether that’s annual or every two years or every five years, we don’t really know that yet. I think that that will emerge as we gather more data,” Rosalind Franklin University’s Chicago Medical School dean Dr. Archana Chatterjee told CNN Monday.

Chatterjee, who also serves as a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, added that she personally anticipates the COVID jabs to become a periodic recommendation to keep the situation under control. However, she clarified that her opinions do not reflect the stand of the FDA or the committee.

The director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Peter Marks acknowledged the need to discuss future boosters for COVID-19 to continuously address the health concerns that could arise from the ongoing pandemic. 

According to Marks, it is undeniable that the vaccines remain to be the best weapon against the novel coronavirus. So the medical community should never stop anticipating what’s to come and prepare by updating the vaccines. 

“As we prepare for future needs to address COVID-19, prevention in the form of vaccines remains our best defense against the disease and any potentially severe consequences,” Marks said in a news release posted on the FDA’s website

He continued, “Now is the time to discuss the need for future boosters as we aim to move forward safely, with COVID-19 becoming a virus like others such as influenza that we prepare for, protect against, and treat.”

The committee will have a virtual meeting on April 6 to discuss the different considerations for future vaccine boosters and the process to determine the specific strains of SARS-CoV-2 the vaccines need to target moving forward. 

“Bringing together our panel of expert scientific external advisors in an open, transparent discussion about booster vaccination is an important step to gain insight, input and expert advice as we begin to formulate the best regulatory strategy to address COVID-19 and virus variants going forward,” Marks said of the upcoming gathering. 

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