The federal Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously, 21:0, to simplify the COVID-19 vaccine schedule with the intent to get more people vaccinated, especially children.
If the FDA signs off on the recommendation, the simplified schedule would mean that all vaccines would be updated so that one shot rather than three would be required. Those who are unvaccinated could get their first dose with the new shot.
“I think there’s a general agreement that updating the vaccine composition is good,” said Dr. Stanley Perlman, acting chair of the FDA advisory committee. “And that whether it comes to being once a year or how it actually pans out that we need to have as much information as we can so we need to have information about how the vaccine is working,” he continued.
Nurses in a Washington, D.C. COVID center mentioned that last winter when boosters rolled out, they’d see around 300 to 400 patients a day. Now it’s gone down to around 10.
In D.C. and several neighboring states like Maryland and Virginia, students are required to get the COVID-19 vaccine to attend public schools and universities. That’s unlike Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis recently proposed a permanent prohibition of COVID-19 mandates even in private business.
“We need to lead with this by making all of these protections permanent in Florida statute which we are going to do in the upcoming legislative session,” said DeSantis.
One parent in Broward County, Diana Gomez, would be more inclined to get a single shot rather than two doses and a booster. However, she only vaccinated her oldest child and feared that her second child was too young at that point.
“I still had questions about him being at an age where he was still developing because I myself had several things that happened or consequences or symptoms that I felt after I got the vaccine,” said Gomez, mother of two.
Gomez said she would feel uncomfortable if schools mandated the vaccine and believe teachers and education should be focused on something more than vaccination.
The committee considered, but has not yet voted on, having an annual COVID vaccination schedule, similar to the one for the flu shot, where most people would be advised to get one updated dose every fall.