Vaccine Booster Shots Might Be Needed By Fall

Fauci agrees they'll be needed, but we don't know when
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2021 5:45 PM CDT
Vaccine Booster Shots Might Be Needed By Fall
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, shown last month, says boosters could be needed eight to 12 months after the first shot.   (John Thys, Pool via AP)

There's no sign that the protection from the COVID-19 vaccines is fading for anyone yet, but the Pfizer and Moderna chief executives said we can expect to have a third shot before long. The data are showing "there will be a need for a booster somewhere between eight and 12 months," Pfizer's Albert Bourla said. That would mean the first people to be vaccinated will be due again in September or October, Axios reports, but the timeline isn't set. "I think as a country we should rather be two months too early, than two months too late with outbreaks in several places," said Moderna's Stéphane Bancel in an email. He's suggesting starting booster shots in September.

Dr. Anthony Fauci agreed but didn't commit to a schedule. "We will almost certainly require a booster sometime within a year or so after getting the primary because the durability of protection against coronaviruses is generally not lifelong," he said. Britain has started a 3,000-volunteer trial to study how well booster shots work, per the Hill. A White House COVID-19 official told a Senate hearing that there's federal money to pay for the booster shots, which will be distributed free of charge to recipients, he said, "just as the last round." A Cornell University virologist suggested slowing down. "It's not proven that we need boosters yet," he said. (More coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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