Amid the highly transmissible Delta variant rapidly spreading all across the world, there has been a growing concern over the current two-dose of COVID-19 vaccine that may not be able to protect against the virus.
Following this there is a common question that arises – Will vaccinated people need booster shots to target this variant?
Recently a joint statement has been issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on weather a booster might be necessary or not. The statement said, people in America who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot currently.
According to the health agencies, the vaccines that are widely available in the US for those aged 12 and up are extremely effective against coronavirus. “People who are fully vaccinated are protected from severe disease and death, including from the variants currently circulating in the country such as Delta,” they said.
However, the CDC and FDA warned people that who are not vaccinated remain vulnerable.
Further the joint statement also noted that, “Virtually all COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are among those who are unvaccinated,” while encouraging Americans who have not yet been vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves and their community.
It was mentioned in the statement mentioned that the FDA, CDC, and NIH are engaged in a science-based, severe process to consider whether or when a booster might be necessary.
It said, “We are prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates that they are needed.”
However, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is also confident for now that the established regimen was sufficient to protect against the coronavirus variants. It said that it was too early to control whether a third dose would be called for.
Meanwhile, Pfizer-BioNTech is set to seek authorization for COVID booster shot. Pfizer and partner BioNTech are planning to ask U.S. and European regulators to authorize a booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2), which according to them “may be beneficial to maintain the highest levels of protection.”
They believe that it is likely, based on evidence, that a third dose may be needed within six to 12 months after full vaccination.
“While protection against severe disease remained high across the full six months, a decline in efficacy against symptomatic disease over time and the continued emergence of variants are expected. Based on the totality of the data they have to date, Pfizer and BioNTech believe that a third dose may be beneficial to maintain the highest levels of protection,” CBS News quoted Pfizer as saying.
It has been recently announced by Pfizer that its COVID vaccine shot could further protect individuals from all currently known COVID-19 variants including the Delta variant. Hence the booster shot has shown encouraging results in small number of participants in clinical trials.
Quoting the clinical trial data, Pfizer said that when given six months after the second dose, its booster has a “consistent tolerability profile” and neutralizes an immune response. The booster data will be shared by Pfizer and BioNTech with the FDA in August and file for emergency use authorization shortly thereafter.
An updated Pfizer-BioNtech COVID vaccine is going to be developed by the Pfizer to specifically target the Delta variant and clinical studies are expected to begin in August, pending approval.