Covid-19 booster might be needed after 9 to 12 months, US says

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The United States is bracing for the possibility that a booster shot will be needed between nine and 12 months after people were initially vaccinated against Covid-19, a White House official said on Thursday (April 15).
While the duration of immunity after vaccination is under study, booster vaccines may be needed, said David Kessler, scientific director of President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 response task force, during a meeting of the Congress committee.

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“The current thinking is that those who are most vulnerable will have to come first,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla said people would likely need a third booster dose of Covid-19 vaccines within 12 months and may need annual vaccines, CNBC reported on the based on his April 1 comments, which were made public on Thursday.

Initial data showed that vaccines from Moderna and its partners Pfizer and BioNTech SE retain most of their effectiveness for at least six months, although the length of this period has not been determined.

Even though this protection lasts well over six months, experts said the rapid spread of coronavirus variants and others that may emerge could result in the need for regular booster shots similar to annual flu shots.

The United States is also monitoring infections in people who have been fully vaccinated, Rochelle Walensky, director of the United States Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, said at the House subcommittee hearing.

Of 77 million people vaccinated in the United States, there have been 5,800 of these breakthrough infections, Walensky said, including 396 people who had to be hospitalized and 74 who died.

Walensky said some of these infections have happened because the person vaccinated did not develop a strong immune response.

But the problem is that in some cases they occur in people infected with more contagious variants of the virus.

Earlier this month, Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said their vaccine was around 91% effective in preventing Covid-19, citing updated trial data including more than 12,000 people fully vaccinated for at least six months.

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