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Modern CEO says another booster will be needed by the fall; SF doctors suggest making more “targeted” vaccines first




Supplemental doses of covid-19 vaccines – also known as “booster shots” – lose effect in as little as four weeks after administration. But instead of just getting a new injection with the same inoculation, medical professionals suggest that newer, more variant-specific COVID-19 vaccines should be developed before we need further boosters.

COVID-19 vaccines are incredibly effective in preventing symptomatic infections; booster shots provide extra protection against the coronavirus. However, over time, their effectiveness begins to decline – which is reduced by 40% to reduce the risk of developing a symptomatic COVID-19 infection over a period of five months.

And it is this decline in efficacy that has prompted Moderna chief Stephane Bancel to warn of a need for a potential fourth Covid-1[ads1]9 vaccine dose this autumn.

“I will be surprised when we get the data in the coming weeks that they are holding up well over time – I expect that it will not hold up well,” Bancel said in a statement published by CNBC, referring to the strength of the booster shots over time.

The Moderna chief also said that some governments – including Britain and South Korea – are already following the warning and are already ordering additional doses in anticipation of the need. “I still think we’ll need boosters in the fall of ’22 and beyond,” Bancel said.

Actually: The Pharmaceutical CEO also suggests that people who are elderly or have underlying health conditions may well need annual boosters in the years to come. However, this is an expected outcome for perhaps the entire population when the pandemic begins to turn into an “endemic” – COVID-19 will soon be a disease that will be regularly found all over the world for the rest of its life.

But still about 40% of the world is unvaccinated against COVID-19 – the latest data from the WHO shows that around 4.65 billion people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, equivalent to about 60.5% of the world’s population – Public health authorities are concerned that proposing a fourth booster shot could further delay vaccination of other parts of this space mountain. There are also a reasonable number of doctors and medical professionals who believe we should focus on constructing a more variant-specific COVID-19 vaccine before administering a new round of boosters taken from the current stock.

“We should not chase our tails and try to prevent them from becoming infected, with the exception of people at high risk, people who have weakened immune systems,” virologist Dr. Greene told ABC7. Greene, who is also a senior postgraduate researcher at the Gladstone Institutes – an independent, non-profit biomedical research organization – does not agree with Moderna’s pressure for a new booster shot.

What does Greene recommend, instead of a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose? Once a patient has received two vaccine doses and an appropriate booster, they should treat a symptomatic infection with Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill to prevent serious complications.

“For example, you develop symptoms and you are quickly tested, ideally during the first three days, and you go on Paxlovid. It will also keep you out of the hospital,” said Dr. Greene. UCSF Infectious Disease Physician Monica Gandhi also agrees with Dr. Greene’s feelings about a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine, noting that public health policy and action should exist outside the realm of belief shared by a CEO who would no doubt “stand and make money” from a decision this.

When – not if, men when– we will inevitably require a new booster syringe, to ensure that it is not based on the old dominant strain of SARS-CoV-2 (as all the current covid-19 vaccines are) will give those who have been vaccinated against the disease their best chance of avoiding a serious coronavirus infection.

In the meantime, it is best that we draw our collective focus towards vaccinating the remaining 40% of the world’s population. If we do not, we will only see more serious, more contagious, more deadly varieties in the future.

Related: Everywhere you can get a free COVID-19 booster vaccine in SF

Top photo: Tagreed Husain (R), an employee of the German Red Cross, prepares syringes with Moderna vaccine against Covid-19 in a mobile vaccination station in a street tram during the new coronavirus pandemic on December 30, 2021 in Frankfurt, Germany. Approximately 71% of the population in Germany is now fully vaccinated and 36.6% have received a booster injection. Meanwhile, Germany has confirmed over 10,000 infections with the Omicron variant, a number of health experts predict will increase rapidly in the coming weeks. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images)



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