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FDA Working On Booster Vaccination Strategy, May Release Next Month: Report

The Food and Drug Administration could unveil a national strategy on COVID-19 booster vaccines as early as next month amid the continued rise in new infections linked to the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus, according to reports.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the agency’s discussions, first reported that President Joe Biden’s administration was working quickly to develop policies regarding the booster injections amid concerns over the continued duration of pandemic and whether those who are vaccinated will remain protected, especially Americans who are more susceptible to serious infections.

The surge comes amid a dramatic increase in cases, with new infections on the rise in all states across the country and some hospitals reporting they are running out of beds.

About half of the country has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccinations remain the most effective way to prevent severe cases of coronavirus or death associated with the disease, including against the delta strain. A small group of vaccinated people have reported COVID-19 virus infections, but very few require hospitalization or die. Almost all of the country’s deaths in recent months have been among unvaccinated people.

Pfizer and Moderna have both reported that their inoculations provide long-lasting protection against severe cases of coronavirus, but studies have shown that the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing symptomatic infections may decline over time. Companies have said in recent months that they expect booster shots will be needed to improve immunity for the foreseeable future as the pandemic continues, a reality that could result in billions of dollars in sales of additional vaccines.

There is not yet a clear scientific consensus on the need for boosters, but public health officials have expressed concern about variants like the delta strain and others that may evolve in the future. The Wall Street Journal added that the FDA is investigating whether a multi-course vaccine regimen, such as the four-shot schedule for poliovirus, could result in lifelong immunity or a much longer period of protection.

Germany and Israel have said in recent days that they will provide booster shots to subsets of the population considered vulnerable to serious infections, namely older residents and those with weakened immune systems.

The World Health Organization has expressed concern, however, as Western countries are focusing on booster shots this week, as many middle- and low-income countries have yet to immunize large swathes of their populations. The group said more than 80% of the vaccines delivered so far have gone to high- and upper-middle-income countries, and the WHO chief said those who already have advanced vaccination campaigns should help. roll out vaccines around the world so that low-income countries can inoculate at least 10% of their population.

“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the delta variant,” WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference on Wednesday. “But we cannot – and we must not – accept that countries that have already used up most of the global vaccine supply are using even more, while the world’s most vulnerable people remain unprotected. “

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