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The U.S. has until June to decide on the next round of COVID-19 booster shots, official says

Will we need COVID booster shots in the fall? The United States must decide by June

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A doctor administers a COVID-19 vaccine.

A doctor administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a man during an ongoing vaccination campaign in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022

Markus Schreiber, Associated Press

The Food and Drug Administration has until June to decide if COVID-19 vaccine makers need to make another booster shot that targets different variants to tackle a potential COVID-19 surge this fall, a top official said Thursday.

Driving the news: Dr. Peter Marks, head of the FDA office responsible for vaccine safety, told an advisory committee Wednesday that the U.S. needs to make its decision by June so that developers have time to make the shots before the fall, according to CNBC.

  • Marks said there could be a new COVID-19 surge this fall as immunity wanes.
  • Dr. Paul Offit, an FDA committee member, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention needs to determine the strength of the vaccines so the FDA can work with companies on new doses, CNBC reports.

What he said: “At some level, the companies kind of dictate the conversation here,” Offit said, per CNBC. “You often hear that the company now has an omicron-specific vaccine, or vaccine they can now link with the influenza vaccine. It shouldn’t come from them, it really has to come from us.”

The bigger picture: There’s ongoing talk about whether people need to receive a fourth COVID-19 shot — a second booster — right now.

What’s next: COVID-19 cases have hit somewhat of a lull period across the nation. An uptick is expected with the BA.2 variant, but a surge could come in the fall, too.

  • “I would think that we should expect that we are going to see some increase in cases as you get to the colder weather in the fall,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told Bloomberg TV.
  • “It is likely that we will see a surge in the fall.”