WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — One COVID-19 vaccine, once a year. That's the goal the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working toward.
As of last week, CDC data shows only 20% of people vaccinated have received an updated booster shot.
WPTV looked into what makes the vaccine series complicated for many people, and the impact a model similar to annual flu shots might have.
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The COVID vaccine booster schedule can be confusing, especially for parents vaccinating their children for the first time. Do you start with the primary series? Do you get the bivalent booster?
The FDA said they are working on a solution.
In the first year of her daughter's life, a South Florida mom who didn't want to be named, had to make many vaccine decisions, including whether to get her vaccinated for COVID-19.
"It doesn't make sense to get shot after shot after shot," the mother said. "There's a lot of information that would make any parent skeptical."
It can be overwhelming having to start with the primary series and then having to get a bivalent booster.
That's primarily why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is trying to change the COVID-19 vaccine model.
"What I think they are going to say today is, 'Why don't we just make this a once-a-year booster like we get with the flu?'" Dr. Larry Bush, an infectious disease specialist in Wellington, said. "If you've never been vaccinated, this would be the vaccine you would start with."
Bush said the current updated booster shot that is available, the bivalent, is outdated.
"The variants that were put into this bivalent booster is not even the variant that we're seeing 50% of the cases right now," Bush said.
However, the current booster is still showing some efficacy.
"It's about 45% effective in adults to prevent symptomatic disease, which is not nearly as good as the other vaccines were initially," Bush said.
But the ongoing challenge is a virus with new strains becoming dominant every few months.
"Normally the flu changes in seasons," Bush said. "This seems to be changing in half seasons or even quarter of seasons."
The discussions with the FDA point to an updated vaccine release in June. Once the FDA and CDC make their decisions, new recommendations will be issued.