As COVID-19 continues to mutate, so too must the vaccine, and that means an annual vaccination, much like the yearly flu shot, will become the new normal.
So said Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, at a White House press briefing Tuesday detailing the latest on the fight against the ongoing pandemic.
“In the absence of a dramatically different variant, we likely are moving towards a path with a vaccination cadence similar to that of the annual influenza vaccine, with annual updated COVID-19 shots matched to the currently circulating strains for most of the population,” Fauci said.
The shift to a recommended annual booster is an “important milestone,” according to White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha.
“For a large majority of Americans, we are moving to a point where a single annual COVID shot should provide a high degree of protection against serious illness all year,” Jha said.
However, Jha added that “for our highest risk individuals, and here I'm thinking about my elderly parents for instance, who are in their 80s, or one of my close friends who recently had a liver transplantation, individuals like that may need more than annual protection.”
The latest booster rollout, which gives the recipient protection against the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants in addition to the original variant, has already begun.