According to what was stated by the Food and Drug Administration on Monday, the United States population may be given the option of receiving a single dosage of a Covid vaccine each autumn, similar to how they get flu vaccinations.
According to briefing materials released on Monday, the government agency is considering retiring the original vaccinations and offering just bivalent dosages for main and booster injections to simplify the composition of the shots as well as the time when they are administered.
Some experts, including a handful of the Food and Drug Administration’s advisors, were taken aback by the suggestion. They are planning to get together on Thursday to talk about the vaccination strategy for the nation, including which dosages should be provided and when they should be administered.
The most recent Covid booster injection has only been administered to around 40 percent of individuals aged 65 and older, and just 16 percent of children aged 5 and older. Many specialists, including government authorities, have said that the dosages are especially critical for American citizens who are at a high risk of serious sickness and death from Covid. These Americans include those who are immunocompromised, pregnant women, and elderly folks.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) addressed the various dangers that individuals of diverse ages and states of health face in its briefing publications.
According to the statement made by the FDA, “it may only be necessary for the majority of persons to get one dose of an approved or authorized Covid-19 vaccine to reestablish protective immunity for some time.” According to the papers, very young infants who may not have previously been infected with the virus, as well as elderly persons and others whose immune systems are damaged, could require two injections of the vaccine.
But there is no evidence, according to some experts, to indicate that people in the United States who are at low risk require even a single yearly injection. The initial immunizations continue to protect young and healthy individuals from serious diseases, and it is uncertain whether yearly booster shots provide any further protection.
The F.D.A. advisors have said that they would want to see thorough information indicating who is most susceptible to the virus and that they would like to base judgments for future vaccination strategies on these facts.
How many years old are they? What are the comorbidities that they have? When was the last time they received a dose of the vaccine? Have they been treated with antiviral medication? Dr. Offit stated. Currently, the national plan seems to be “OK, well, let’s just dose everyone all the time,” he added. “Let’s just dose everybody all the time.” “And that’s not even a decent excuse,” the speaker said.
According to the concept that was proposed by the F.D.A., the composition of the yearly vaccine would be selected by authorities every June, and it would be tailored to combat whatever variety is now circulating.
However, the booster was rapidly overtaken by freshly developed variations in this year’s competition. Some experts believe that rather than focusing on the so-called spike protein, which undergoes relatively few mutations, it would be more prudent to create vaccines that target other components of the Coronavirus.
According to the findings of a few pieces of research, the efficiency of both forms of booster dosage is diminished when they are combined. A preliminary study reveals that the bivalent vaccination generates a higher immune response to the ancestral form than to the newer variants. The process responsible for this is called imprinting, and it occurs naturally in living organisms.
According to the opinions of several specialists, a monovalent vaccination that would exclusively target the more recent strains might have been more effective.
Dr. Gounder commented on the idea put out by the F.D.A., stating, “Based on what we’ve learned from the present bivalent vaccination and imprinting, this makes no sense at all.” Why not switch to a vaccination that just contains one kind of Omicron antigen?
The FDA advisors expressed their optimism that Thursday’s meeting would provide an opportunity for an in-depth discussion of the issues raised. However, some had a greater degree of skepticism.
Dr. Gounder said that the questions on the ballot “are worded in such a manner as to compel a certain conclusion.”