Pfizer, a U.S. drugmaker, recently announced that it would be investing efforts into developing a booster dose of its COVID-19 dose so that people are better protected from growing variants. However, the move has sparked debate amongst medical experts whether the new type of vaccine is actually needed or not. Further, it has led to the emergence of great confusion amongst people who are unvaccinated over changing the number of doses.
Pfizer and its partner German firm BioNTech send out a statement suggesting that it will work on receiving approval for their booster shot in the coming few weeks. The move comes with the view that people would need a booster shot after six to twelve months of being fully vaccinated.
The partnering company also stated that they have received encouraging evidence in the ongoing trial of the third dose of its current COVID-19 vaccine. Initial data from trials shows that booster shots received six months after the second dose would lead to a consistent tolerability profile. Moreover, it also elicited high neutralization titiers towards variants, even the highly transmissible delta virus. The company said that their booster shot might provide five to ten times higher in contrast to only two doses.
It is expected that the vaccine efficiency will reduce with the passage of time against asymptomatic disease, in particular, due to the continued emergence of variants. Looking at the totality of data gathered to date, a third dose is taken between six to twelve months after full vaccination would be best in order to maintain the highest levels of protection.
But as a surprise, right after Pfizer released its statement, CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) collectively released statement relaying their stand on vaccine booster mentioning that Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not require a vaccine booster for the time being. They also said that people fully vaccinated have the protection of severe illness and death resulting from coronavirus. Also, from the emerging new variants like the delta virus which, is now being considered as the dominant strain in the country.
FDA, CDC, and NIH (Nation Institute of Health) went on to state that they are continuously engaged in science-based research to understand if and when the booster shot will be needed. Their conclusion, they added, will not be solely based on research and data provided by drug companies. According to CDC, the new delta variant is now present in over 100 countries. It represents over 50 percent of the new infections in America in the last two weeks ending on July 3. Experts are worried that the variant would lead to a surge in new cases in the coming fall, mainly harshly affecting the unvaccinated population.
The nation has only managed to fully vaccinate 47.8 percent of the population, while 55.3 percent has at least received the first dose, as per CDC data. Thus, the new variant is a subject of worry for the people that have just started getting out of homes and businesses that recently came on track after a year of continuous lockdowns and stringent guidelines.