Health experts and residents in ENC weigh in on the FDA’s annual COVID shot proposal

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 11:42 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -Many have felt the negative impact of COVID in some way or another over the past few years, and going forward, the FDA wants to make vaccinations an annual thing like getting a flu shot.

It’s a proposal being met with both support and skepticism from some in the east.

“There are other ways to get around it than having to go get a shot every single year,” said Justin Williams, an ECU student.

He’s never been vaccinated and says he still doesn’t feel the need to.

“I haven’t gotten the vaccine,” Williams said. “Unless I have to for a job or for school, I’m not going to get it. I’m still not going to get it.”

80 percent of the U.S. population has at least one vaccine, according to the FDA.

ECU student Leland Morris has been vaccinated three times and says he supports the idea if people want the yearly shot. “I’ve heard good things and I’ve heard bad things,” Morris said. “I haven’t had any bad symptoms myself so I can’t say anything about it personally. Overall, I don’t think it should be a forced thing.”

The FDA says adults with weakened immune systems and small children, may need a two-dose combination for protection.

While a decision hasn’t been made about the future of COVID vaccines, Beaufort County Health Director Janell Octigan says she wants people to know about all vaccines.

“My biggest encouragement would be to meet with an educator, your doctor, or provider who can talk to you about the vaccines,” Octigan said. “To ensure that you know the risk associated with not having a vaccine and weighing your pros and cons.”

The FDA says yearly COVID vaccines would not require people to keep up with the number of shots they receive.

The FDA also says it plans to ask its panel of outside vaccine experts to vote on whether or not all vaccines should target the same strains. The FDA plans to discuss its proposal at a meeting this week.