Will we need a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot?


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The UK, South African, Brazilian and now possibly another COVID-19 variant are ravaging India.

Pharmaceutical companies are racing to keep up.

Moderna is now planning to have a third shot ready by fall.

Why might you need it?

Think of your tetanus shot.

It’s not lifelong.

Later in life, you have to get a booster.

So in time, we will know just how long the COVID-19 vaccine lasts.

While, like the flu, new strains continue to emerge.

“Like influenza this virus is evolving. We have new variants that are circulating so a booster shot can also help take care of the variant problem by giving you new immunity to the strains that are circulating,” said Dr. Tony Moody.

Moody is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases and an associate professor in the Department of Immunology at Duke University Medical Center.

Moody said researchers are currently studying whether the next dose will include the same amount of vaccine while also working to tame the side effects many of us have already experienced.

“Can you make small changes to that formulation that keep the vaccine being effective but reduce that amount of reaction that people are seeing? And I know there are studies underway at Pfizer and Moderna, and their partners, we’re involved in some of that research to try and see if you can come up with a vaccine that won’t have as bad of a reaction,” Moody said.

While some show no reaction at all – others have experienced short-lived fever, mild aches and pains, and fatigue.

Moody said that is far better than the extreme effect getting COVID-19 can have on an individual.

The hope is that by reducing the reaction, it will also encourage people who are reluctant to get the shot to change their minds.

“If we can develop formulations that are a little less reactive that people will be more willing to accept it and then you know at some point you have to say look this is the thing that is going to keep you from getting badly sick this is the thing that’s going to keep you out of the hospital,” said Moody.

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