WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Vaccines targeting new COVID-19 variants are likely to arrive this fall after an advisory panel voted to recommend that vaccines be updated.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel said COVID-19 vaccines should be updated to protect the population against the evolving virus.
“With the waning of vaccine efficacy, and the confluence of risk this fall, we need to make a move,” one FDA advisory panel member said.
Another FDA advisory panel member explained “this gives us the right vaccine in preparation for potential need for boosters in the fall.”
Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said the current vaccines now offer less protection.
“The original vaccines that have been used in the United States up until now were created using the original form of the virus,” Michaud explained.
Once developed and approved, health officials will likely recommend another round of shots starting with older and at-risk individuals.
While schools already require students to be vaccinated against many diseases, Michaud said it still appears unlikely COVID-19 vaccines will be required for students.
“If there’s a lot of people who say, you know, ‘I don’t think it’s a problem, I don’t want to take another vaccine, I don’t think it’s worth it,’ there are going to be some people who are vulnerable that otherwise wouldn’t have been,” Michaud said.
Although children are less likely to become severely sick, health experts still recommend they be vaccinated against COVID-19.