June 16, 2021

When will you need a third dose of the Covid vaccine? Here’s what the experts say

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People who have been completely inoculated against the coronavirus with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines may need a booster injection within a year to maintain their immunity to the coronavirus, Dr Peter Marks said Tuesday, director of Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research from the FDA, although other experts say a booster may be needed as early as six months later.

Main facts

  • Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, said last week that people will likely need a booster shot within six to twelve months of their second dose of the vaccine his company developed with BioNTech, when early studies indicate that the protection of the vaccine appears to be diminishing.
  • Last month, Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, said that it takes about eight months after the second vaccine for the body to show a decline in antibody responses to the coronavirus, which would be the “perfect time for a booster. “.
  • In February, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said maybe people should prepare for an annual coronavirus vaccine to fight new mutations like the annual flu shot. .
  • Other experts believe it is too early to say whether the general public will need three doses: Dr Tom Frieden, former CDC director, told Reuters last week that it was “totally inappropriate” to say that annual reminders are likely to be necessary for everyone because “we have no idea how likely this is to happen.”
  • The final decision as to whether and when the boosters should be administered “should be made by public health experts, rather than the CEOs of a company that may derive financial benefit from them,” he told Reuters Dr. Monica Gandhi, infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.
  • Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s chief infectious disease officer, said last month that experts will have a better idea of ​​the need for a third dose by late summer or early fall. , depending on the number of cases of new infections, or of vaccinated people who still contract the coronavirus.

Important quote

“It would be nice if it turned out that a year had passed before anyone needed a booster,” Dr Peter Marks said on Tuesday. “But we still don’t know … It’s something we’re going to have to find out as we go.”

What we don’t know

Whether additional vaccine doses would be available for free or how they would be distributed. Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said last week that US officials “are preparing for it just in case.”

The context

Nearly 48% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and more than one in three is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to CDC data. Anyone aged 12 and over in the United States can get the vaccine after the FDA extended eligibility to adolescents last week.

Article translated from Forbes US – Author: Carlie Porterfield

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