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Enlarge / EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS – 2022/01/08: A vial containing Moderna COVID-19 booster vaccine at a vaccination centre. (credit: Getty | SOPA Images)

As the US weathers record COVID-19 cases from the ultra-transmissible omicron variant, vaccine makers are thinking about future waves—and the shots that could help prevent them.

Leading mRNA vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech are currently working up omicron-specific versions of their vaccines, which could be ready in a matter of months. And according to recent interviews, they expect that such boosters will be used as annual shots, which could be given in the fall for the next several years until global transmission dies down.

“I think the reality is that this is going to become an annual vaccination, at least for a period of time,” Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner and Pfizer board member, said Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation. “We don’t know what the epidemiology of this infection is going to be over the long run, but certainly over the next couple of years, you can envision boosters becoming an annual affair.”

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