The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could “streamline” the authorization of booster shots for the new Omicron strain of COVID-19.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky appeared on ABC’s “This Week” with host Martha Raddatz on Sunday and revealed that variant-specific vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson could be pushed through quicker than previous jabs.
“One of the things about a booster, about a variant-specific booster — I know Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson say they could all do this fairly quickly, within three months, but then you have FDA approval,” Raddatz said.
“Is there any world where you can see that moving much faster given we’ve already been through this?”
Walensky said that while she would “have to defer to the FDA” on certain things, the organization is “already in conversations about streamlining the authorization … of an Omicron-specific vaccine, partially because much of the vaccine is actually exactly the same and really it would just be that mRNA code that would have to change.”
“So, those conversations are ongoing and certainly, FDA will move swiftly, and CDC will move swiftly right thereafter,” Walensky added.
Raddatz also asked the CDC director if she would like to see a “nationwide” mask “mandate.”
“I would rather see people get vaccinated, boosted, and follow our recommendations,” Walensky replied.
“I’d rather not have requirements in order to do so.
“People should do this for themselves.”