A US Centers for Disease Control official stated on Wednesday that, according to information available at present, there is no need for a booster shot for the coronavirus vaccine.
However, certain at-risk populations will be closely monitored for the possibility of a booster, including residents of long-term care facilities, adults who are 65 and older, those who are immunocompromised and those who work in health care.
The findings so far in mid-June, according to Sara Oliver of the CDC, indicate that the world’s major Covid-19 vaccines offer lasting protection that could diminish any need for frequent booster shots.
However, she cautioned that more research is still needed and that virus mutations remain a concern worldwide.
No data that is currently available supports a recommendation for coronavirus booster shots, Oliver told an advisory group, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, yesterday.
Oliver assured the committee that officials will continue to monitor all incoming data to determine if a booster shot is necessary at some point as time goes on.
A recommendation for booster shots would likely “only occur” after “evidence of declining protection against illness, such as declines in vaccine effectiveness” or the detection of a “variant of concern substantially impacting vaccine protection,” Oliver told the Committee.
All health officials urge vaccination to blunt effect of Delta variant
Doctors and other health officials all over the United States are urging unvaccinated people to reconsider their decision not avoid the inoculation as Delta variant concerns continue to rise.
Oliver noted that global vaccine availability should also be a factor in future discussions regarding additional shots.
Her presentation was a way to set guidelines for which factors the advisory committee will be considering if it must decide on potential recommendations for booster shots in the future.
Committee members all agreed that additional data will be needed before making any decisions on a booster program.
The question of whether or not booster shots will be necessary at all in coronavirus fighting efforts became an issue after Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla had earlier this Spring told Axios that an additional dose will likely be necessary “sooner rather than later.”
The Thessaloniki-born doctor said at the time that booster shots could be needed as soon as September for the earliest vaccine recipients.
Former CDC director and leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has also stated previously that he expects booster shots to be needed.
For the first time, back in mid-May, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said definitively that people will need another dose of coronavirus vaccine in eight months in order to address mutations that have occurred since the original vaccine was developed.
The news did not comes entirely as a surprise; since the beginning of this year, variants of the original coronavirus have popped up all over the world — as viruses normally mutate over time.
Variants have been traced back to Great Britain, India, South Africa, Brazil, New York City and many other areas around the world as the virus found hosts in those who had not yet received the vaccines.
The World Health Organization’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Friday that it is now “well on its way to becoming the dominant variant globally because of its increased transmissibility.”
The Delta mutation of the coronavirus is already causing a new spike in the numbers of new coronavirus cases in Europe — in the United Kingdom and Portugal in particular.
Already – existing vaccines 88% effective against Delta variant
A recent study on the part of Public Health England demonstrated that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had proven 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant — compared with the staggering 93% effectiveness against the Alpha variant, which was the first mutation to be detected in the UK.
After just one dose, however, the the vaccine only provided 33% protection against the variant, pointing to a need to get that second shot if one has already begun the vaccination process.
Coronavirus vaccine booster shots — and a possible pill that cures virus
Speaking to the Sixth Annual Delphi Economic Forum, taking part this year in a hybrid form due to the ongoing pandemic, Bourla addressed the adequacy of the Pfizer vaccine and his objections to giving up the rights to vaccine patents.
In remarks to journalist Sia Kosioni, the Thessaloniki-born Pharma CEO initially referred to the position he has taken against the release of patents for vaccines.
As he pointed out, regarding price, Pfizer already provides vaccines at cost, depending on the financial condition of the nations that purchase it.
Regarding production volume, Bourla said, companies already have the ability to produce as much as is needed, adding that Pfizer plans to produce 3 billion doses of coronavirus vaccine worldwide for 2021 — and 4 billion doses in 2022.
All vaccines, but especially those made by Pfizer and Moderna, which are based on mRNA, are extraordinarily complex to produce, with specialized machinery having to be built during 2020 to manufacture the product.