FDA ‘Very Carefully’ Considering Second COVID-19 Boosters: Report

by Courtney Blackann

Come fall 2022, there could be a second mRNA COVID-19 booster shot. Officials at the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) are “very carefully” considering it. This is following the omicron variant of the illness. Experts believe that a new strain could emerge and that this fall would be the time to receive a booster.

According to The Hill, FDA spokesperson Allison Hunt confirmed that they’re looking into how effective another booster would be. She reportedly told CNN that the FDA “is indeed continually looking at the emerging data on the pandemic. Its also examining variants in the United States and overseas. This is in order to evaluate the potential utility and composition of booster doses.”

Though there’s still much to learn, she said. And there’s plenty of uncertainty. Hill said that administering the second booster this fall would also coincide with annual flu shots.

Experts Weigh In About Vaccine

“As more data become available about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, including the use of a booster dose, we will continue to evaluate the rapidly changing science and keep the public informed,” Hunt wrote to CNN. “Any determination that additional booster doses are needed will be based on data available to the agency.”

Additionally, if the FDA does approve the COVID booster, it would then be up to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to give it the go ahead. While these steps are taking place, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said there’s a “potential future requirement” for an additional booster. It’s being “very carefully monitored in real time, and recommendations, if needed, will be updated according to the data as it evolves.”

Further, drug companies Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are already developing a vaccine specific to the omicron variant. In order to keep the disease at bay, both companies believe a fourth dose will be needed for ultimate protection.

Are We Entering Final Stage of COVID-19 Pandemic?

However, it’s unclear whether a new vaccine would be specifically for a new strain of COVID. It’s possible it could be the same formula as the current vaccine.

Despite the development of a booster, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said he believes we might be in the final stages of the pandemic.

“I think that is a reasonable scenario,” Bancel explains.

“There’s an 80% chance that as omicron evolves or SarsCov-2 virus evolves, we are going to see less and less virulent viruses,” he added, as well. “But there’s a 20% scenario where we see the next mutation, which is more virulent than omicron.”

He continues:

“I think we got lucky as a world that omicron was not very virulent. But still are we see thousands of people dying every day around the planet because of omicron,” he said.