An expert advisory vaccine panel for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday voted in favor of recommending updated COVID-19 vaccines specifically designed to combat the omicron variant.
Among the voting members of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), 19 voted in favor of recommending an omicron-specific booster while two voted against the endorsement.
The FDA is not required to follow the committee’s recommendations, though the agency usually does.
Several members of the vaccine panel reasoned that the likely benefits of an omicron-specific vaccine — possibly a bivalent shot — outweighed the possible risks.
During the meeting, however, members brought up several possible points of contention regarding the recommendation.
Some members argued that approaching the COVID-19 pandemic like it was the flu with seasonal boosters was not the right path, pointing out that the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been shown to mutate faster than the influenza virus.