The U.S. health authorities revealed they are facing a critical decision: whether to offer new COVID-19 booster shots this fall that are modified to better match recent changes in the shape-shifting coronavirus.
According to reports, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration will debate Tuesday if it’s time to make a switch — setting the stage for similar moves by other countries.
FDA vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks said the agency is still weighing its options on the matter at the moment.
“This is science at its toughest,” Marks said.
Based on an analysis prepared for Tuesday’s meeting, FDA officials acknowledged targeting last winter’s version of omicron is “somewhat outdated” since its even more contagious relatives have already replaced it.
“We would obviously like to get it right enough,” Marks added.
Meanwhile, some experts say updated boosters promise at least a little more benefit.
“It is more likely to be helpful” than simply giving additional doses of today’s vaccine, said epidemiologist William Hanage of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.