Health officials on Monday announced they are planning to make coronavirus booster shots an annual event in America in response to a plea originally made by President Joe Biden.
The Associated Press (AP) reported that the announcement came with the latest data showing that more than 80 percent of the U.S. population has had at least one vaccination, but only 16 percent of those who are eligible have had the most recent boosters that were approved in August.
Biden first encouraged Americans last year to obtain coronavirus vaccine boosters. He recommended an additional booster shot every year.
“If you’re fully vaccinated, get one more COVID shot. Once a year. That’s it,” Biden said during a speech on the fake White House video set.
The president received his fifth coronavirus shot via live camera, despite the fact that he contracted and recovered from the virus last July.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suggested a simplified method for the future vaccination program, which will allow people, both children and adults, to receive one shot every year to guard against the mutating virus.
According to the AP report, the FDA will invite its panel of vaccine experts to provide their opinions at a conference on Thursday.
Doctor Anthony Fauci has already mentioned that regular coronavirus booster shots could be a possibility, saying that people “very well may need to get booster shots to keep up the level of protection.”
The idea that annual vaccine boosters would be required was initially mentioned as far back as 2021 when it was announced as “certainly possible” that all Americans eventually would be advised to have a coronavirus booster vaccine.
In the most recent document posted in the online world, several FDA scientists now say that many Americans are now protected by “sufficient preexisting immunity” against the coronavirus as a result of vaccination, infection, or an amalgamation of both.
This level of protection will be sufficient to make the transition into an annual booster to protect against the new strains that are in circulation. This could increase the likelihood of the coronavirus vaccination, like the flu shot, being given annually, according to the agency.
The FDA will also ask its advisory panel to decide if all vaccinations should be targeted at the same strains. This step is needed to allow the shots to be interchangeable, eliminating the complicated system currently used for booster shots and primary vaccinations.
The first shots from Pfizer and Moderna—also known as the primary series—target the type of virus that first surfaced in 2020 in Wuhan, China, before becoming a major threat all over the globe.
The latest boosters released this fall were tweaked to target the omicron variant, which is now dominant, as per the FDA.
Experts are still debating whether the most recent round of boosters will significantly improve protection, especially for young, healthy Americans.