FDA Advisory Committee to Discuss Future of Covid Boosters

A nurse fills syringes for patients as they receive their booster vaccination against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination clinic in Southfield, Michigan, September 29, 2021.

Emily Elconin | Reuters

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee will meet next month to discuss the future of Covid-19 booster shots in the US and whether the vaccines need to be updated to target specific variants.

The FDA’s Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biologics will meet on April 6 to discuss the timing of Covid boosters for the coming months, as well as when to update the shots to target specific variants. They have not scheduled a specific vote, nor are they expected to discuss recent applications from Pfizer or Moderna for fourth Covid vaccine doses.

Public health experts and vaccine makers have said Covid will eventually become a seasonal virus like the flu, spreading faster during the winter months and then disappearing when the weather warms up. The CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna have both said annual vaccinations against Covid, similar to the flu, will be needed, especially for the elderly and those with underlying conditions.

Each year, the FDA advisory committee decides which flu vaccine should be administered in the US based on the circulating strain and other factors. The committee is likely to take a similar approach to Covid vaccines in the future.

“Now is the time to discuss the need for future boosters as we strive to move forward safely, with COVID-19 becoming a virus like any other, such as the flu that we are preparing for, protecting against and treating,” said Dr. . Peter Marks, the head of the FDA’s Vaccine Safety Group.

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