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FDA: COVID-19 vaccination is part of the new normal

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials say annual COVID-19 vaccines are likely needed in the future to minimize future societal disruption.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — While it may sound like a broken record, it is also the current reality as the world knows it: Like it or not, COVID-19 is far from gone.

There's still concern about contracting the virus and spreading it to others, especially as summer approaches. 

Given its various mutations, experts say it's very likely that COVID-19 will be part of the foreseeable future. That means, if you haven't already, it's time to accept the virus as part of a societal "new norm." That also goes for safety measures such as masking, social distancing, disinfecting, and vaccinations.

Dr. Thomas Russo is the chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo. He says, "We are almost certainly never going to be in a post-COVID world."

Dr. Russo told 2 On Your Side, "We're going to have waves and increases in the number of infections where a risk of getting infected goes up. And we're going to have quieter periods, which hopefully will be coming here to Western New York in the very near future. So, you know, you need to sort of gauge both your personal risk, and then the risk of getting infected based on how much disease we have in the community."

That said, earlier this week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Robert Califf and other FDA officials published a paper in the medical journal JAMA on Monday where they stated in an effort to "minimize future societal disruption and save lives," it's very likely that annual COVID-19 shots will be part of the "new norm" in the near future, like flu shots. 

"Society is moving toward a new normal that may well include annual COVID-19 vaccination alongside seasonal influenza vaccination," they wrote. 

As for a tentative timeline?

In that same paper, FDA officials, say June could be when they finalize a decision on the make-up of future COVID-19 vaccines, just in time for fall and winter. By summer, they expect decisions on who should be eligible to be determined. 

The FDA plans to tentatively hold an advisory committee meeting on June 28 to discuss the future of these vaccines.