On Thursday, Moderna announced that a third shot of its COVID vaccine, which is normally distributed over two doses, will “likely be necessary” prior to the onset of winter. The announcement from Moderna emerges after public discussions have increased regarding booster shots, which are similar to annual flu shots.
Moderna provided additional data for its vaccine on Thursday as well, illustrating that the vaccine has continued to maintain a 93 percent efficacy rating six months after the second dose of the shot.
According to the CEO of Moderna, Stephane Bancel, the company is highly pleased that its vaccine “is showing durable efficacy of 93 percent through six months,” but Bancel also cautioned “that the Delta variant is a significant new threat so we must remain vigilant.”
Throughout the course of the presentation, Moderna also detailed its Q2 earnings, noting that the current two-dose vaccine will “continue to wane” in strength, which in turn will “eventually impact vaccine efficacy.” Consequently, booster shots are likely necessary for the winter season, according to Moderna.
Moderna cites “seasonal effects (moving indoors),” “non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) fatigue,” and “increased force of infection resulting from Delta” as justifications for booster shots, especially since all of these factors will presumably “lead to an increase of breakthrough infections in vaccinated individuals.”
The company continued onwards to comment on “durable Phase 3 efficacy through 6 months,” though it also anticipates “neutralizing titers” that will eventually have a strong impact on “vaccine efficacy.”
As a result, Moderna believes that the “dose 3 booster” will end up being necessary to administer “prior to the winter season.”
In another slide within the presentation, Moderna also highlighted one of its long-term objectives, which was to create a respiratory vaccine for elderly and adult populations, which would combat “seasonal flu, COVID-19 booster, and RSV.”
Moderna is not the only company floating booster shots, as Pfizer has also discussed booster shots for its own COVID vaccine as well.
According to Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, it is likely that “the third dose will raise the antibody response 10- to 20-fold.”
Bourla justified his claim by saying that individuals receive their flu vaccines on an annual basis, and a similar scenario will play out with COVID.
In order to be protected, “you will have to [receive] your annual shot for COVID,” Bourla proclaimed.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 88 million people in the United States have received the COVID vaccine from Pfizer, whereas more than 63 million have received the COVID vaccine from Moderna. In addition, approximately 13 million Americans have elected to receive the single-dose COVID vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.