The vaccine rollout is well underway in the U.S., with more than 50 percent of adults in the country now at least partially vaccinated (via NPR). While this means we are on our way to herd immunity, it still seems likely that we will need booster shots at some point.
“So the good news is that [the vaccine is effective for] at least six months,” infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci recently told MSNBC (via Mediaite). “Hopefully a lot more… if it turns out a year or a year and a half, we very well may need to get booster shots to keep up the level of protection.”
Vaccine manufacturer Moderna recently announced that booster shots, which would lengthen immunity and also protect from new COVID-19 strains, could be available in a matter of months. “Our goal is to work really hard to get this ready before the fall,” CEO Stéphane Bancel told CNBC.
We might need annual COVID vaccines, say experts
Bancel told CNBC that it’s likely we will need annual COVID-19 vaccines, but that Moderna hopes to combine it with a flu vaccine to streamline future vaccinations. “I anticipate in the next year or so, we’re going to see a lot of variants,” he explained. “But as more and more people get vaccinated or naturally infected, the pace of the variant is going to slow down and the virus is going to stabilize like you see with flu. What we’re trying to do at Moderna actually is to get a flu vaccine in the clinic this year and then combine our flu vaccine to our Covid vaccine so you only have to get one boost at your local CVS store… every year that would protect you to the variant of concern against Covid and the seasonal flu strain.”
Pfizer, the manufacturer of the other vaccine currently being distributed in the country, is also testing a third dose of their two-part vaccine. “A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a third dose, somewhere between six and 12 months and then from there, there will be an annual revaccination, but all of that needs to be confirmed,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla recently told CNBC.
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