Should everyone eligible get the new Omicron-specific COVID booster? Yes, absolutely. But we should not get lulled into the illusion that the fight against COVID is over and now comparable to preventing the flu.
And the latest data show that the newest booster shot, which targets the Omicron BA.4/5 strain and original virus variants in a bivalent formulation, isn’t that much more effective in generating virus-fighting antibodies than the original vaccine when used as a booster.
An uptick hinted at in surveillance data was a mirage, the officials said.
Instead, though, the administration’s recent moves have pitted it against recommendations from VRBPAC and the ACIP, a tension that hasn’t gone unnoticed by former government officials.
With widespread use of these boosters, we could potentially skip infection spikes, hospital visits, and pandemic backsliding this winter, when it seems likely enough that cases will surge again. Unfortunately, barely anyone has taken the booster.
Richer countries should focus on ramping up vaccine supply to the billions who are still waiting for their first dose.
Most people don’t need a fourth Covid-19 shot yet. But for some, it’s very important.
You could probably sneak in a COVID-19 booster shot right now. But there are a few good reasons to hold off.
So although the boosters may temporarily provide, well, a boost, it’s not a slam dunk that they’re going to fundamentally change the situation.
With the world facing the latest in a seemingly endless stream of coronavirus variants — and with bullish talk from manufacturers about a need for even more vaccine shots — you wouldn’t be alone if you were wondering: Are Covid boosters always going to be a fixture in our future?
With so much uncertainty about booster shots, we asked doctors to explain why a third dose may be necessary in the near future.
Still, if you're high-risk, you may not want to wait too long. Polls show many vaccinated people held off on a first booster dose when they became available last year. But waiting until you see another outbreak in your community could be risky.
Making sure all people worldwide have vaccine access should be the highest priority, because population immunity is the best way to protect individuals, too. Only then should additional doses be given to already vaccinated people. But we should be prepared to accept that some groups may eventually need an additional dose for full protection.
For now, studies indicate that a single booster dose provides strong protection against severe COVID-19 in most people. But a second booster may have advantages for those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19, experts say.
There are still scientific and ethical questions.
The latest vaccines are designed to target the currently circulating Omicron variants—and head off a winter surge.
The updated shots clear the “safe and effective” bar for government approval. But in the real world, are Omicron-specific vaccines significantly more protective than the original vaccines so many have already had?
Pfizer's updated booster is available for anyone 12 and older. The Moderna booster is available for anyone 18 and older.
Going forward, COVID-19 could be treated more like the flu, with one annual shot offering year-long protection against severe illness for most people.
They cannot really measure how strong your COVID immunity is.
Vaccine experts aren’t certain who under 65 years should get a second booster–and when–because the response of T cells is poorly understood.
The newest vaccine conspiracy theory is based on a decontextualized comment from a European official and tons of feverish speculation.
"It would be absolutely impossible" to test positive because you got the vaccine, says Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport.
This is because the tests are "testing for something not in the vaccine," says Dr. Seth Cohen, an infectious disease physician and medical director of Infection Prevention & Control at the University of Washington Medical Center.
Concerns over waning immunity and SARS-CoV-2 variants have convinced some countries to deploy extra vaccine doses — but it’s not clear to scientists whether most people need them.
Immunocompromised people looking for extra doses are low-hanging fruit in the effort towards herd immunity, Branch-Elliman says. U.S. officials are expending a huge amount of energy trying to convince vaccine skeptics to get shots, while people who have already proven that they want vaccines—but who did not reap their full benefits—are practically begging for extra protection.
Western governments increase orders in case of waning immunity and variant threats, but need isn’t clear yet and much of world lacks initial doses
The evidence is showing vaccination is working: immunity is lasting and is protecting us against the worst effects of COVID-19. So why is the UK planning on third booster shots when there isn’t clear evidence that there’s a need? A huge concern should be that the majority of people in the world still remain unvaccinated. In many low-income countries as little as 1% of eligible adults have received one vaccine dose.
Though research demonstrating waning immunity against omicron after the first round of immunization justifies the first booster shot for all adults, experts find the data less compelling when it comes to whether or not a second booster shot is warranted.
That said, more evidence has been emerging that giving older people, those 60 and older, another shot could cut their chances of dying. So many experts say it could make sense to boost at least the older people and perhaps some younger people, like those with diabetes, high blood pressure and other health problems that put them at risk.
Is the evidence strong enough to warrant a fourth shot, does the timing make sense, and will there be much demand?
A flurry of new studies suggests that several parts of the immune system can mount a sustained, potent response to any coronavirus variant.
This has led to confusion. Should the nearly 60 percent of adult Americans who have been fully vaccinated seek out a booster or not? Is the protection that has allowed them to see loved ones and go out to dinner fading?
Federal officials are hoping that encouraging new findings will spur more Americans to get an updated booster before a feared surge in coronavirus cases this winter.
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said Friday that their updated booster generated virus-fighting antibodies that can target four additional Omicron subtypes, including the particularly worrisome BQ.1.1.
The immune response wasn’t as strong against the newer subvariants as it is against BA.5. But adults 55 and older experienced a nearly nine-fold jump in antibodies against BQ.1.1 a month after receiving the updated booster...
The findings that a longer gap between shots elicited at least temporarily stronger protection highlight how the immune response can deepen with time after a person’s last exposure, whether in the form of an infection or vaccine. Health officials have recommended that people wait three months since their last infection before getting boosted.
The risks from over-boosting are very small.
How experts are thinking about another shot—and whether you should sneak one.
The F.D.A. has authorized additional shots for older Americans and those with certain immune deficiencies. Here’s what scientists know about who needs the doses, and when.
From the why to the who, we still need a lot of answers about booster shots.
This isn’t the kind of protection we need right now.
We may finally have achieved an advantage over SARS-COV-2 as the updated vaccine recipe matches the current dominant circulating BA.5 strain (and slow growing BA.4.6 strain) without another more transmissible variant of concern yet on the horizon.
New vaccine recipes, which haven’t yet been cleared, could also play a role in future vaccination efforts. Some researchers are looking outside the spike protein, to see whether they can build shots that contain more instructive bits of SARS-CoV-2 anatomy.
Circling back to COVID, let’s not forget that we’re still in a pandemic. And making sure you’re up to date with your COVID booster is the best thing you can do to protect yourself from getting severely ill. At this point in the pandemic, many of the people dying of COVID are actually older people who are vaccinated, but not up to date on their boosters. (That doesn’t mean the vaccines don’t work—it’s just that so many older Americans are vaccinated that a small percentage is still a big number.)
Not only will a booster with the new vaccines decrease the likelihood of infection and severe illness and help reduce transmission of the virus; it could also decrease the likelihood of developing long Covid.
The WHO said the moratorium would help towards the goal of vaccinating at least 10% of every country’s population by the end of September.
Washington has not yet announced a booster vaccination plan. But the White House appeared to reject the WHO’s call, arguing it could deliver doses to Americans and support global vaccination efforts.
Whether everyone needs an additional vaccine dose, and whether or not we can anticipate getting one every year or every few years, depends on what we want the vaccines to accomplish. The vaccines were not designed to prevent people from getting infected by the virus, but to protect them from getting extremely sick with COVID-19, and to keep them from needing hospitalization and intensive care.
New shots targeting the latest version of the Omicron variant are available. When should you get yours? Here’s what experts recommend.
While the vaccine makers are understandably eager to sell an additional dose of their shots, the FDA said in a July 8 statement that boosters for the U.S. are premature at this point.
There’s a lot we don’t yet know about the data behind Pfizer and BioNTech’s renewed push to change their two-shot Covid vaccination series to a three-shot regimen. But as various factions bicker about whether a third shot is going to be needed, one thing is certain: The final decision will not rest with the companies.
The reformulated booster doses of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are “bivalent.” That means they target the original version of SARS-CoV-2 as well as the newer omicron variant. The hope is that when administered as boosters, these new shots will increase protection against the latest mutations in the virus, and head off a rise in hospitalizations and deaths.
THE RACE TO vaccinate the world is not a fair one. Even as some countries struggle to get first doses out into the arms of their most vulnerable, countries with advanced vaccination campaigns are starting to consider giving “booster” shots.
Although booster jabs would prioritise the most vulnerable people in high-income countries, the degree of additional benefit that boosters would have for these people – beyond the original vaccination – is uncertain.
There is no right or wrong answer on getting another booster shot. Here’s what to consider.
Worrying variants and waning immunity raise the prospect of follow-up vaccine doses
The WHO is opposed to booster shots because it considers it more pressing to get the majority of people in poor countries vaccinated with their first two doses than to get people in rich countries an extra dose.
As long as large pockets of people remain unvaccinated, she points out, we’ll continue to see surges in COVID-19 cases and new variants. Fuller suspects that over the next several years there may be regular boosters tailored to whichever variant has become dominant, similarly to the annual flu vaccines.
The FDA is expected to endorse people getting a different brand of booster than they got for their original vaccination..
Even with increased population immunity, COVID is settling into an annual death toll that scientists believe could exceed 100,000 — several-fold higher than a typical flu season and potentially exceeding annual diabetes deaths.
Will you need a booster? Does it matter if you got Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, or another vaccine?