Yesterday, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discussed the possibility of changing the COVID-19 vaccine schedule to an annual one-shot system. This would be similar to how the flu vaccine is currently administered and would aim to simplify public health messaging around vaccines to encourage more people to get vaccinated.
The proposal would mean that most adults would receive one shot of the vaccine each year. However, there would be exceptions for those at higher risk of severe disease, such as senior citizens and immunocompromised people, who would still need to receive two shots per year. This may also be the case for younger children who have never been vaccinated or infected with the virus.
The FDA is looking to the southern hemisphere in order to anticipate how the virus may circulate in the US and to tailor the vaccine accordingly. It is anticipated that the FDA will assess the circulating virus in late spring or early summer and have a vaccine ready for the fall.
At this point, no decisions have been made and further discussions will take place in the coming weeks and months. It remains to be seen if the proposed change will be implemented and if it will be successful in increasing vaccination rates in the US.