Do We Really Need Covid-19 Vaccine Boosters? Here Is What Experts Say?
Covid-19 Vaccine Boosters: Just because Pfizer wants to offer Covid-19 vaccine boosters doesn’t mean people are lining up anytime soon. The US and other international health authorities say that for now, the fully vaccinated seem well protected.
However, experts are watching closely to determine if and when people might need another shot. Meanwhile, several experts suggest the priority for the time vaccinations, noting that worrisome Coronavirus mutants would not be popping up so fast if more of the US and the rest of the world had gotten the initial round of shots.
“If you want to stop hearing about the variant of the week,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University public health specialist, “we need to do more work to make sure all countries have more access to vaccines.”
Why Covid-19 Vaccine Booster Are In News?
US health officials said that people one day might need a booster, as it works for many other vaccines. This is why, studies are underway to test different approaches: mix-and-match tests, and simple third doses using a different brand.
But last week, Pfizer along with BioNTech (German partner) announced that in August, they plan to seek Food and Drug Administration Authorization of a third dose. It is because it could boost levels of virus-fighting antibodies.
Boosters are common
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends boostersTrusted Source for other common vaccines.
For example, a booster for the vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, or Tdap, is recommended every 10 years. People who travel in countries with high levels of hepatitis A are advised to get a booster shot 12 months after their first doses.
A team of Australian researchers published research in March that used predictive modeling to see how well COVID-19 vaccine protection lasted by examining titer or the concentration of protective antibodies. They found the decay of protection 250 days after immunization predicted a “significant loss” in protection, “although protection from severe disease should be largely retained.”
And that’s the whole point of vaccines: To protect from a serious infection that could result in hospitalization or even death.
Dr. Stephen Russell, CEO, and co-founder of Imanis Life Sciences — a Rochester, Minnesota, company that makes COVID-19 antibody tests — says it’s possible a fully vaccinated person could remain protected for more than a year. That protection could also drop off as quickly as 3 months.
“The appropriate timing of booster shots is therefore very difficult to determine without specific information about the peak neutralizing antibody titer and its rate of fall in a given individual,” he said.
Russell also says the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines appear to generate the highest neutralizing antibody titers, followed by the AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines. But, he said, different vaccines work differently, and it’s still possible that a vaccine might be developed for COVID-19 that gives lasting immunity.
“The common childhood vaccines such as measles, mumps, and rubella that most of us have had typically result in lifelong immunity,” Russell said, “but they use live replicating viruses, which may persist much longer than mRNA vaccines and are therefore able to drive a better, more lasting immune response.”
For now, there’s not enough evidence to suggest that the current vaccines can’t keep up with the current versions of the novel coronavirus.