Meeting based on all COVID-19 vaccines and how it should be targeted to the original and dominant strains, an FDA advisory panel said Jan. 26, but members debated whether a new modified vaccine every 12 months is optimal.
After a daylong meeting discussing tentative changes to the nation's COVID-19 vaccine strategy, the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 21-0 recommending the primary series also include the modified, bivalent vaccines.
Three more takeaways from the meeting:
1. The panel discussed — but did not vote on — whether to model the COVID-19 vaccine regimen to copy an annual schedule similar to flu shots. Most argued against this approach because COVID-19 does not mutate on a yearly basis, meaning another tweaked vaccine may be necessary in the summer or every 18 months.
2. One adviser questioned whether focusing solely on the bivalent model would compromise broad protection, but most showed interest in continuously updating the vaccine's composition. "It may be bigger bang for our buck," one panel member said.
3. The committee also debated simplifying the immunization schedule to direct two doses for children and immunocompromised people and one dose for the rest of the public. The consensus was there is not enough information about T-cell, B-cell, non-neutralizing antibody responses or data about protein-based and mucosal-based shots.