WEDNESDAY, April 6, 2022 (HealthDay News) — An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will meet Wednesday to discuss the best way forward with COVID-19 vaccines, as evidence grows that variants are eroding the power of the country’s current shots.

“As we prepare for future needs to address COVID-19, prevention in the form of vaccines remains our best defense against the disease and any potentially severe consequences,” Peter Marks, M.D., director of the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a news release announcing the panel meeting last month.

“Now is the time to discuss the need for future boosters as we aim to move forward safely, with COVID-19 becoming a virus like others such as influenza that we prepare for, protect against and treat,” Marks added. “Bringing together our panel of expert scientific external advisors in an open, transparent discussion about booster vaccination is an important step to gain insight, input, and expert advice as we begin to formulate the best regulatory strategy to address COVID-19 and virus variants going forward.”

During the meeting, the panel will hear from a wide range of experts, including those from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FDA Office of Vaccine Research, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization. Panel members will also hear from Sharon Alroy-Preis, director of public health services for the Israel Health Ministry, who will describe recent research on Israel’s experience with giving a second booster shot for those 60 years and older earlier this year.

No official vote is planned, and no specific vaccine products will be discussed.

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