RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Close to nine months after COVID-19 vaccines were first rolled out, CBS News reported the U.S. was likely to recommend a third dose of the vaccines. Those vaccines could start to be administered as early as next month.
This comes just days after a third dose was approved for people with compromised immune systems.
Both Pfizer and Moderna reported seeing some protection start to wane after six months.
It’s too early to tell how often boosters of the COVID-19 vaccines would be needed.
Pfizer has requested an Emergency Use Authorization for a booster shot at least eight months after the second dose.
The company has reported a study from its researchers found efficacy starts to slip after six months. It declines 6 percent every month after that according to the company.
Dr. David Weber is a professor of medicine at UNC School of Medicine. He said vaccines like the flu and TDAP shots both require follow-up vaccinations.
“This is not the first vaccine to require boosters,” said Weber.
If approved, the third dose would likely have to be the same brand as your first two. The FDA would first need to give emergency authorization. It would be up to the CDC to provide guidance on who gets it and when.
“We would like to, in healthcare, give as best protection as we can and it may be that boosters offer a way to improve protection,” said Weber.
Pfizer said its studies show protection from the Delta variant in people 18 to 55 was five times greater after a third dose. People ages 65 to 85 saw 11 times greater protection.
Weber said increasing the dosing doesn’t mean scientists can’t make up their minds about what’s best.
“It’s not anyone in government or pharmacy having misled people. We couldn’t have absolutely predicted a year ago that we’d have variants that might have some escape from the vaccines,” he explained.
He said a third jab to the arm shouldn’t dissuade anyone. The increased protection should be an extra reason to get all three shots.
“Getting an additional shot is a small price to pay for better protection,” Weber said.
Right now, Pfizer said that booster will be the same formula as the current doses. The company reported it is planning trials for a new formula designed specifically for the Delta variant at a later point.