NEW YORK CITY — Americans may need to get a single Covid-19 vaccination every year, federal health officials said Tuesday, making clear that the country will be living with the coronavirus for the foreseeable future.
“This week marks an important shift in our fight against the virus,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, who is leading the White House Covid-19 Response Team. “It marks our ability to make Covid vaccines a more routine part of our lives as we continue to drive down serious illness and deaths and protect Americans heading into the fall and winter.”
Though Tuesday’s announcement isn’t a surprise — the Biden administration has been hinting at such a shift since the spring — it is a significant moment…
Jha said the newly authorized updated Covid-19 boosters would be free of charge to all who qualify and want them, but future vaccines and treatments may not be, as funding for the pandemic response dwindles and the government begins to shift therapeutics to the commercial market.
Vaccine experts said the shift to yearly shots signals that Covid-19 isn’t going away.
“Our great-great-grandchildren will be getting coronavirus vaccines,” said Dr. Gregory Poland, who directs the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group…
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday that although he expects this fall to be the beginning of annual shots for Covid-19, those who have weakened immune systems might need more frequent protection.
“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,” he said.