A federal advisory committee of outside experts is meeting Wednesday to help the US coronavirus vaccine strategy in fashion for the rest of the year, amid growing evidence that new variants have eroded existing vaccines.
The Food and Drug Administration’s panel is trying to determine where the United States is heading in its efforts to find reconfigured vaccines that could better protect against new forms that have emerged in the last six months.
The meeting, which began at 8:30 a.m. earlier in the day, represents a turning point for the federal government, which is volatile with much uncertainty. Many scientists have concluded that existing vaccines need to be redesigned to deal with the evolving virus. Federal officials are anxious to determine how to do this as soon as possible, lest the nation face a situation when the virus re-emerges in the autumn and vaccine defenses are weakened.
The committee will hear from experts, including experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, and the FDA’s Vaccine Research Office.
Sharon Alroy-Press, director of public health services at the Israeli Ministry of Health, will describe Israel’s experience in conducting second booster shots for people aged 60 and over earlier this year.
Relying heavily on Israeli data, the FDA last week approved a second booster for Americans 50 and older. Dr. Rochelle P. Wallensky, CDC director, recommends these shots for anyone aged 65 or over, aged 50 to 64, for a serious underlying health condition.
Some immunologists and vaccine experts, including at least one member of the FDA’s expert panel, say the federal government has come a long way with very little data. Those allegations could be made public while discussing Israel’s experience.
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