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US health officials propose once-a-year COVID shots for most Americans, similar to flu shots

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Washington — US health officials want COVID-19 vaccinations to be like the annual flu shot.

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a simplified approach for future vaccination efforts, allowing most adults and children to receive an annual vaccination to protect against the mutating virus. I made it

This means that Americans no longer need to keep track of how many injections they have received or how many months have passed since their last booster.

This proposal came out when boosters were not selling well. While more than 80% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, only 16% of those eligible have received the latest booster approved in August.

FDA asks a panel of outside vaccine experts to join Thursday’s meeting. It has been.

In a document posted online, FDA scientists say many Americans now have “substantial pre-existing immunity” to the coronavirus through vaccination, infection, or a combination of the two. That baseline of protection will shift to annual boosters against the latest strains in circulation, enough to make COVID-19 vaccinations more like annual flu shots, officials said. It should be.

For adults and very young children with weakened immune systems, a two-dose combination may be needed for protection. to determine who should receive one and two doses.

The FDA also plans to ask the committee to vote on whether all vaccines should target the same strain. That step is necessary to do away with the current complex system of primary vaccination and boosters to make shots interchangeable.

The first shots from Pfizer and Moderna – dubbed the Primary Series – are aimed at the viral strains that first emerged in 2020 and quickly took the world by storm. The latest booster, released last fall, was also tuned to target the dominant Omicron relatives.

The FDA’s proposal calls for the agency, independent experts, and manufacturers to determine the targeted strains each year by early summer, and spend months developing and launching the latest shots by the fall. This is much the same approach that has long been used to select strains for annual flu vaccinations.

Ultimately, FDA officials say moving to an annual schedule will make it easier to expedite future vaccination campaigns, ultimately increasing vaccination coverage nationwide. .

The original two-dose COVID shot has provided strong protection against severe illness and death, regardless of variant, but less protection against mild infections. Experts continue to debate whether the latest boosters significantly boosted defenses, especially in young and healthy Americans.

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The Associated Press’ Health Sciences Division is supported by the Scientific and Educational Media Group at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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