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COVID-19: FDA Committee to Vote on Vaccine Future, CDC Unveils Interactive Trackers

The Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) will meet Jan. 26 to discuss the future of COVID-19 immunization, following the release of a new road map suggesting that COVID-19 vaccines may need annual updates, similar to flu shots.

The proposed framework also includes establishing a process for vaccine strain selection recommendations based on prevailing and predicted variants by June each year to enable vaccine production by September. Additionally, the committee will vote to decide whether all future COVID-19 vaccines will be bivalent.

CDC Publishes Interactive Infectious Disease Dashboards

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unveiled two interactive dashboards on Jan. 17 that allow users to track and compare COVID-19, flu, and RSV–associated hospitalization rates and emergency department visits for the first time.

The Respiratory Virus Hospitalization Surveillance Network (RESP-NET) uses three surveillance platforms — COVID-NET, FluSurv-NET, and RSV-NET — to conduct population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed hospitalizations associated with the three illnesses. Updated weekly, surveillance is conducted through a network of acute care hospitals in select counties in 13 states, covering more than 29 million people.

The second dashboard will offer emergency department visit data for cases of the three respiratory conditions, as tracked by the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP). NSSP is a collaboration among the CDC, federal partners, state and local health departments, and academic and private sector partners to collect, analyze, and share electronic data received from multiple health care settings.

Users can follow trends on both dashboards across seasons and for different demographic groups, including age, sex, and race and ethnicity. The agency hopes that the tracker serves as a possible early warning system for Americans in the case of unusual levels of certain respiratory illnesses.

Recent dashboard data indicates that, for the first time in a month, cases for all three illnesses are decreasing.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Andrea Lugo is a communications associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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