The newest on the COVID is the fact the Biden administration might give a go-ahead to the booster COVID-19 shot according to a new report from USA Today.
In this case, those who have received shots of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccines regardless of their age but who have at least taken the complete dosage of the vaccines eight months ago might be eligible for the booster shot.
This will be broadcasted this week as the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc to public health in the country. It also comes amid anxieties about the Pfizer vaccine’s waning immunity and the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of booster vaccines for immunocompromised people.
An official spoke with USA Today on a condition of anonymity as the individual wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. With that said, the booster shots will reportedly commence as soon as mid – to late September especially depending on how fast the FDA formally approves the usage of the vaccines.
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The official spoke to USA TODAY on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly.
The change comes because of data released from Israel and the Mayo Clinic, among others, said Dr. Eric Topol, vice president for research at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California, and a national expert on the use of data in medical research.
Israel’s Ministry of Health published data that showed that protection from the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine dropped off precipitously after just six months to just 40 – 50% effectiveness against the infection according to Dr. Topol.
The vaccine is however highly protective against serious illness and death but not against milder COVID-19. “There’s still a risk for long COVID, and people can get quite ill from symptomatic infections, you can’t gloss over that,” he said.
Reports from Qatar and the Mayo Clinic are seeing the same effect, he said. “It gets down to the 40 to 50% effectiveness range, whereas it used to be 95%,” he said.
The reason why the mRNA vaccines become less effective after such a short period of time is yet unknown however Dr. Topol believes it’s due to the short dosing schedule in the US.
The vaccine campaign in the US was given three weeks apart for the Pfizer shots and four weeks apart for the Moderna vaccine
The United States used the spacing that Pfizer and Moderna used in their trials because that’s the data that was available. The short spacing might not have allowed the memory B and T cells in the body to develop as robustly as they would if the interval had been longer.
“This might not have happened if the spacing had been eight to 12 weeks. That’s what Canada, the United Kingdom, and Scotland did,” Topol said.
The effectiveness of a booster shot continues to raise questions around the world considering the devastating effects of the COVID-19 on every aspect of life across the globe.
The fact that not so many countries have enough vaccines to go around while America is on the verge of taking giving out a third dose might seem problematic.
Dr. William Moss, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has proposed that the United States donate doses for every booster dose that’s given.
“I would love to see the Biden administration say we’re going to donate 10 doses for every booster dose we give,” he said. “It’s a visible way of showing we understand there’s an issue here, and this is how we’re going to address it.”