US Proposes Once-a-Year COVID Shots for Most Americans

January 23, 2023by Matthew Perrone, Associated Press Health Writer
US Proposes Once-a-Year COVID Shots for Most Americans
A nurse prepares a syringe of a COVID-19 vaccine at an inoculation station in Jackson, Miss., July 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health officials want to make COVID-19 vaccinations more like the annual flu shot.

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday proposed a simplified approach for future vaccination efforts, allowing most adults and children to get a once-a-year shot to protect against the mutating virus.

This means Americans would no longer have to keep track of how many shots they’ve received or how many months it’s been since their last booster.

The proposal comes as boosters have become a hard sell. While more than 80% of the U.S. population has had at least one vaccine dose, only 16% of those eligible have received the latest boosters authorized in August.


The FDA will ask its panel of outside vaccine experts to weigh in at a meeting Thursday. The agency is expected to take their advice into consideration while deciding future vaccine requirements for vaccine makers.

In documents posted online, FDA scientists say many Americans now have “sufficient preexisting immunity” against the coronavirus because of vaccination, infection or a combination of the two. That baseline of protection should be enough to move to an annual booster against the latest strains in circulation and make COVID-19 vaccinations more like the yearly flu shot, according to the agency.

For adults with weakened immune systems and very small children, a two-dose combination may be needed for protection. FDA scientists and vaccine companies would study vaccination, infection rates and other data to decide who should receive a single shot versus a two-dose series.


FDA will also seek input on switching all vaccines to target the same strains. That step would be needed to make the shots interchangeable, doing away with the current complicated system of primary vaccinations and boosters.

The initial shots from Pfizer and Moderna — called the primary series — target the strain of the virus that first emerged in 2020 and quickly swept across the world. The updated boosters launched last fall were also tweaked to target omicron relatives that had been dominant.

Under FDA’s proposal, the agency, independent experts and manufacturers would decide annually on which strains to target by the early summer, allowing several months to produce and launch updated shots before the fall. That’s roughly the same approach long used to select the strains for the annual flu shot.

Ultimately, FDA officials say moving to an annual schedule would make it easier to promote future vaccination campaigns, which could ultimately boost vaccination rates nationwide.

The original two-dose COVID shots have offered strong protection against severe disease and death no matter the variant, but protection against mild infection wanes. Experts continue to debate whether the latest round of boosters significantly enhanced protection, particularly for younger, healthy Americans.


___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Health

Anti-Abortion Activists Aim to Sway GOP White House Hopefuls

CHICAGO (AP) — Emboldened anti-abortion activists are looking to the 2024 presidential election as an opportunity to solidify their influence over the... Read More

CHICAGO (AP) — Emboldened anti-abortion activists are looking to the 2024 presidential election as an opportunity to solidify their influence over the Republican Party. Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, the most influential group in the anti-abortion movement, is telling each potential GOP presidential hopeful that to win its... Read More

February 1, 2023
by Eden Metzger
Hawaii Senator Seeks to Crack Down on Sex Traffickers

HONOLULU — Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, is continuing to press law enforcement and other officials to stem the rising tide... Read More

HONOLULU — Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, is continuing to press law enforcement and other officials to stem the rising tide of gender-based violence and sex-trafficking involving Native Hawaiian women and girls. Recently she traveled back to the big island from Washington for discussion on the issue... Read More

January 31, 2023
by TWN Staff
Marburg Vaccine Shows Promising Results in First-In-Human Study

WASHINGTON — An experimental vaccine against Marburg virus, a member of the Ebola virus family that causes death in a... Read More

WASHINGTON — An experimental vaccine against Marburg virus, a member of the Ebola virus family that causes death in a large proportion of infected individuals, proved safe and induced an immune response in a small, first-in-human clinical trial. The findings of the researchers at the National... Read More

January 31, 2023
by Dan McCue
CMS Seeking to Claw Back Improper Medicare Advantage Payments

WASHINGTON — The federal government will begin auditing Medicare Advantage insurers under a new rule finalized Monday, the heightened scrutiny... Read More

WASHINGTON — The federal government will begin auditing Medicare Advantage insurers under a new rule finalized Monday, the heightened scrutiny expected to return as much as $4.7 billion to Medicare’s trust fund over the next 10 years. Watchdog groups had long complained about questionable charges to... Read More

January 31, 2023
by Dan McCue
Administration Moves to Expand Birth Control Coverage Under ACA

WASHINGTON — Women whose employers opted out of covering contraceptives under their health insurance plans on religious grounds could regain... Read More

WASHINGTON — Women whose employers opted out of covering contraceptives under their health insurance plans on religious grounds could regain no-cost access to birth control under new rules proposed by the Biden administration. If implemented, the rules, which were announced under the auspices of the Departments... Read More

January 31, 2023
by Dan McCue
White House Preparing to End COVID-19 Emergencies in May

WASHINGTON — The White House said Monday that President Biden will end dual national emergencies declared to deal with the... Read More

WASHINGTON — The White House said Monday that President Biden will end dual national emergencies declared to deal with the COVID-19 public health crisis in May, nearly three years after they were first declared. The announcement came 24 hours before the Republican-controlled House was to vote... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top