COVID Vaccines Likely Getting a Big Update

FDA advisers endorse updating the shots
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 16, 2023 1:30 AM CDT
COVID Shots Likely Getting a Big Update
FILE - Pre-loaded syringes with COVID-19 vaccine are ready for use in New Orleans, on Jan. 25, 2022.   (AP Photo/Ted Jackson, File)

The COVID-19 vaccines are on track for a big recipe change this fall, the AP reports. Today’s vaccines still contain the original coronavirus strain, the one that started the pandemic—even though that was long ago supplanted by mutated versions as the virus rapidly evolves. Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration's scientific advisers said the next round of shots in the US should only include protection against the newest variants that are now dominant worldwide—a branch of the omicron family tree named XBB. The FDA will make the final decision. Vaccine makers said during the meeting that they could have updated vaccines available within months, depending on the strain.

While infections have declined, the virus could be a real concern next winter, FDA's vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks said as the daylong meeting began. “We’re concerned that we may have another wave of COVID-19 during a time when the virus has further evolved, immunity of the population has waned further, and we move indoors for wintertime,” he said. The FDA had told Americans to expect an updated fall vaccine against COVID-19, just like they get a new flu shot every fall. Even though most of the population has either been infected or had at least one round of vaccinations, the coronavirus keeps churning out new varieties. (The AP rounds up what you need to know here.)

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