A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted unanimously on Thursday for Americans to get a once-a-year booster against COVID with the strain to be decided mid-year for a fall campaign, the Associated Press reported. The panel agreed that people should get the same vaccine formula whether they’re receiving their initial vaccinations or a booster. Today, Americans get one formula based on the original coronavirus strain that emerged in 2020 for their first two or three doses – and their latest booster is a combination shot made by Pfizer or Moderna that adds omicron protection. The FDA would have to decide how to phase in that change.
The news comes as the seven-day average of new cases stood at 46,300 on Thursday, according to a New York Times tracker. That’s down 24% from two weeks ago. The daily average for hospitalizations was down 24% at 34,833. The average for deaths was 549, down 3% from two weeks ago. The global tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 topped 669.9 million on Friday, while the death toll rose above 6.82 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world with 102.2 million cases and 1,107,559 fatalities.