KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It’s been almost 18 months since the first people received a COVID-19 vaccine. Since then, millions of people have received a vaccine.

Now, it may be time to change that vaccine.

Experts are expected to decide on a new COVID-19 vaccine design in the coming weeks, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson at the University of Kansas Health System.

“One of the nice things about the mRNA technology is that we are able to pivot fairly quickly, so they are looking at some of those alternative or variant spikes,” Hawkinson said during an update provided by the health system.

The mRNA technology is the synthetic protein used in the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Health experts said companies are working on different spikes in the vaccine that could help it better protect against certain COVID-19 variants.

But that’s not the only change to the vaccine that could be coming.

“But also what we’re talking about is possibly bivalent vaccines. What that means is two. So maybe two different spikes, the original Wuhan isolate, but also pairing that with say either the beta or the omicron spike for future generations of that vaccine,” Hawkinson said.

Health experts said to expect some data or announcement in the next few weeks. It will need to be made by the end of July if companies hope to have the new vaccine ready in time for fall, according to Hawkinson.

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