U.S. plans to shift to annual coronavirus shots, similar to flu vaccine


HR King
May 29, 2001
White House coronavirus coordinator Ashish Jha said Tuesday that the newly reformulated coronavirus vaccine boosters that target the omicron variant mark an “important milestone” in the U.S. pandemic response, moving the country to a point where a single annual coronavirus shot should provide a “high degree of protection against serious illness all year,” Lena H. Sun reports.
The cadence would be similar to that of the annual flu shot, which could be administered at the same time.
“I really believe this is why God gave us two arms — one for the flu shot and the other one for the covid shot,” Jha said.
As Lena reports:
Heading into the third fall of the pandemic, Jha and other Biden administration health officials urged eligible Americans to get an updated booster now. The shots are available for people as young as 12, following approval last week of boosters from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech that target the dominant circulating strain of the virus, BA.5.
Staying up to date on coronavirus vaccination can get the country back “to a more normal set of rules,” Jha said, allowing businesses and schools to stay open.
Barring curveballs from new variants, “it is reasonable to expect, based on what we know about immunology and science of this virus, that these new vaccines will provide better protection against infection, better protection against transmission and ongoing and better protection against serious illness,” he said at Tuesday’s news briefing
Some experts have said that may be an optimistic assumption given that more than half of Americans eligible for boosters have yet to receive their first dose. Given the waning immunity from the coronavirus vaccines, it’s also not clear whether an annual covid shot will provide protection that lasts a year.
Providers, health departments and pharmacies are already administering the reformulated booster.