Moderna cites breakthrough cases as reason for booster shots


(Eli Hartman/Odessa American via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – While the FDA prepares to debate COVID-19 Pfizer boosters for the general public, Moderna has released new information they said supports a booster of their vaccine.

The company analyzed breakthrough cases in people who received its vaccine. They found 88 COVID-19 cases in 11,431 people vaccinated between December and March. They found 162 cases in the 14,746 vaccinated last year.

This data showed just 0.07 percent of people vaccinated recently and 1 percent of people vaccinated last year tested positive for COVID-19.

Of all of these, the company said just 19 were determined to be severe but Moderna did not disclose if any of those people were hospitalized.

The company said in a release, “While not significant, there was a numerical trend towards a lower rate of severe cases in the group vaccinated more recently.”

Moderna said the risk of breakthrough showed its vaccine waned eight months to 13 months after the first dose. In a release, the company said it believes this data “adds to evidence of potential benefit of a booster dose of mRNA-1273.”

The company also referred to data from the CDC showing that in light of the delta variant, its vaccine was 92 percent effective in keeping people out of the emergency room and 95 percent effective against hospitalization.

Moderna plans to submit its data for peer-review.

On Friday, the FDA will discuss Pfizer’s request for authorization for its booster.

In documents posted online, the FDA took note of conflicting data concerning boosters. The agency said, “Some observational studies have suggested declining efficacy of COMIRNATY over time against symptomatic infection or against the Delta variant, while others have not.”

Several studies supporting boosters have been conducted in Israel, something the FDA also took note of saying US-based studies “may most accurately represent vaccine effectiveness in the US population.”

The FDA said data available to them showed the vaccines were still effective in preventing severe illness.

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