The U.S. House of Representatives Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic wants to know more about plans by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to recommend annual COVID-19 vaccines.
During a July interview with Spectrum News, CDC Director Mandy Cohen said she “anticipate[s] that COVID will become similar to flu shots, where … you get your annual flu shot and you get your annual COVID shot.”
As part of the House investigation into federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates and policies, Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) last week sent a letter to Cohen, stating:
Wenstrup requested all documents and communications about any annual — “or any other time-based iteration” — recommendation for COVID-19 booster shots, including correspondence between or among the CDC, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (also under the subcommittee’s investigation), the White House, the CDC Foundation, CDC contractors and any other CDC stakeholders.
Pfizer, Moderna et Novavax are slated in September to release new single-strain COVID-19 shots targeting the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5. These vaccines are not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but manufacturers are following the June 15 recommendations of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC).
The committee of 21 independent advisers in June voted unanimously that any new vaccine should protect against just one strain of the virus — a departure from the available bivalent vaccines — and should target one of the three Omicron subvariants currently circulating, including XBB.1.5.
The XBB.1.5 variant spread globally in the first quarter of 2023, reaching dominance in North America, and other parts of the world by April, according to the FDA’s briefing document for the June meeting.