A significant formula update for the COVID-19 vaccine is expected this autumn.
The original coronavirus strain that caused the pandemic is still present in today’s vaccinations, despite the fact that it has long since been replaced by mutant variants as the virus quickly changes.
The next wave of vaccinations in the United States should only contain protection against the newest varieties, which are currently prevalent globally — a branch of the omicron family tree called XBB, according to a study by the Food and Drug Administration’s scientific advisors on Thursday.
Although cases have decreased, Dr. Peter Marks, the FDA’s director of vaccine development, warned that the virus might pose a serious threat next winter.
“We’re worried that there might be another wave of COVID-19 at a time when the virus has further evolved, population immunity has diminished even more, and we’re staying indoors for the winter,” he added.
The FDA advised Americans to anticipate receiving an updated COVID-19 vaccination this autumn, just as they do with an updated flu shot.
The coronavirus continues to produce novel kinds despite the fact that the majority of the population has either had an infection or received at least one round of immunizations.
Currently available in the United States are combination injections made by Pfizer and Moderna that combine the original strain with defense against the two most prevalent omicron variations from the previous year,
known as BA.4 and BA.5. However, just 17% of Americans choose to use a combination booster.
And while the FDA did let seniors and other high-risk individuals have an additional booster dosage this spring, the majority of people would have had their final injection for several months by the fall.
Even if XBB variations have taken control, those currently accessible doses nevertheless aid in the prevention of serious illness and death.
But over time, immunity gradually dwindled and was only effective against lesser infections before the virus, unavoidably, mutated once again.