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FDA proposes changing COVID-19 vaccine strategy to mirror the annual flu shot

FDA proposes changing COVID vaccine strategy to yearly shot
FDA proposes changing COVID vaccine strategy to yearly shot 02:24

NEW YORK -- The Food and Drug Administration is proposing a major shift in the country's COVID-19 vaccination process.

As CBS2 found out on Monday, the booster system could soon become an annual shot.

Nearly three years into the pandemic and several vaccinations later, most Americans are having trouble keeping track of their shots.

"I don't remember. It has been so long," said Ikenna Iteogu of Park Slope.

"My last one was possibly about four months ago? Four months ago. That's not accurate, though," added Chris Jackson of Kips Bay.

READ MOREHealth officials urge New Yorkers to stay up-to-date with vaccinations

To simplify the process, the FDA is considering changing the nation's COVID strategy to mirror the annual flu shot, meaning the agency will determine each spring which strains to select for the fall season.

Most people will only need one shot per year, regardless of how many they previously received.

"I think that this is a positive signal from the FDA because I think the direction that scientists are thinking is that COVID is going from a pandemic to being endemic," said Dr. Nidhi Kumar, a cardiovascular disease specialist.

Kumar, who is also a CBS2 contributor, said she believes the proposal is an appropriate one, especially as boosters have become a hard sell -- with only 15.3% of the U.S. population receiving the latest bivalent shot.

"Chasing boosters is not working. We don't have patient compliance. We don't have the health care dollars and the resources to support it and, frankly, this disease mutates faster than we can keep up with," Kumar said.

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Kumar said the new approach will increase vaccination rates, which in turn will lead to a healthier population.

"It's streamline things, instead of just, hey, something new is going on, take a new shot," Jackson said.

The FDA will ask its panel of outside experts to weight in on the proposal at a meeting on Thursday.

Under the agency's proposal, two doses may still be needed for young children and those who are elderly or immuno-compromised.

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