A fourth vaccine dose might be needed this fall, Moderna CEO says πŸ’₯πŸ’₯πŸ’₯

Dosage of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine are being prepared to give to patients at L.A. Care Health Plan Community Resource Center on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021 in El Monte, California. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images)

More people may need a fourth dose of a Covid-19 vaccine this fall, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said Thursday, as booster doses are likely to become less effective over time.

I still believe we’re going to need boosters in the fall of ’22 and forward,” Bancel said at a Goldman Sachs health care CEO conference.

A preliminary Israeli study found that a fourth dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine raises coronavirus antibodies fivefold in a week’s time. People who are 60 and older, health care workers and those with weakened immune systems are eligible for fourth doses in that country.

The Canadian province of Ontario will offer fourth doses to people in settings such as long-term care homes and retirement homes.

Pfizer Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton warned last month that β€œwe’re going to have to wait for a couple of months yet, until we can see how those data develop and mature, to understand when will that additional booster dose — if needed — have to be given.”

Medical experts have also advised caution around expanding vaccine programs.

β€œWe can’t vaccinate the planet every four to six months. It’s not sustainable or affordable,” Professor Andrew Pollard of the Oxford Vaccine Group, head of the UK’s Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, who helped create the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, told the Daily Telegraph in an interview published Tuesday.

In a separate interview with Sky News on Tuesday, Pollard also cited the glaring unevenness of vaccine rollouts across the world.

“And remember that, today, less than 10% of people in low-income countries have even had their first dose, so the whole idea of regular fourth doses globally is just not sensible,” he said.

Meanwhile in the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on December 24 that it was too early to be discussing a potential fourth dose for most people.

“One of the things that we’re going to be following very carefully is what the durability of the protection is following the third dose of an mRNA vaccine,” Fauci told Michael Wallace and Steve Scott of WCBS Newsradio 880. Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech are mRNA vaccines.

“If the protection is much more durable than the two-dose, non-boosted group, then we may go a significant period of time without requiring a fourth dose,” Fauci said. “So, I do think it’s premature — at least on the part of the United States — to be talking about a fourth dose.”

Moderna is also developing Covid-19 boosters that specifically target coronavirus variants like Delta and Omicron.

A fourth vaccine dose might be needed this fall, Moderna CEO says

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