Two weeks ago, Pfizer asked the FDA to take another booster shot of its vaccine – a fourth dose – for people 65 years and older. Two days later, Moderna followed suit, but with widespread application to authorize another booster for all adults over 18.
Even before those requests, the leaders of these companies appeared on television shows for everyone to discuss Booster for another round – but without further evidence to back up their claims.
That couldn’t stop the FDA, the agency said on Tuesday Adults 50 years of age and older can opt for another booster shot of vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, which should be given at least four months after the first booster of any approved or approved coded vaccine.
Both boosters mean the fourth shot for those who have already received three doses of mRNA vaccine. Another booster would be a third shot for those who received a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and a booster shot of an mRNA vaccine.
In addition, the CDC now says that all adults 18 and older who have received two doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine may choose to have a booster dose of the mRNA vaccine. The agency said it was basing its recommendation, partly on a new study showing that two doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine provide urgent care related to the cloy and less protection against ER visits than the mRNA booster. Some of them.
Will announcements make a difference in tariff vaccination rates across the country, especially with cases still on the steady decline? Less than half the adults in the United States chose to get a booster shot even when the virus was destroying the country, said Dr. Saad Omar, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health.
“Our first booster coverage is high, very low, compared to where we needed to be,” said Dr. Omar.
Instead of doubling down on a faulty approach, federal officials should take advantage of the epidemic to find the best security strategies, he said.
“Any career public health person looking back and looking at current coverage of Booster first would say, we need a serious review that we need to do differently,” he said.
Many scientists are skeptical about today’s decision.
The FDA allows anyone over 50 to obtain a second booster. But experts pointed out that still limited research supports the fourth shot only for those older than 65 years or those who have underlying conditions that put them at greater risk.
The most compelling data come from an Israeli study that found that adults over the age of 60 who received a fourth dose were 78% less likely to die of cough, who received only three shots. This study was posted online last week and has not yet been reviewed for publication in the scientific journal.
“Israeli studies are decisive, in terms of mortality rates,” said Dr. Robert Wachter, Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
But this study, while it merely provides evidence, is deeply flawed. Participants all received a fourth shot voluntarily – and are likely to be people who are naturally cautious about their health, said Dr. Paul Offft, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and F.D. A. Consultant.
“Who will choose to receive a fourth dose? Someone who focuses on their health, who is more likely to exercise, less likely to smoke, is more likely to wear a mask, “said Dr. Aft.
These other factors may make the booster shot look more effective than the original. In fact, other data from Israel suggests that a second booster has modest benefits only in healthy young people.
Four months after the third dose was given, the fourth dose was restored to the level of antibodies at the same peak after the first booster, but no more. And this rise is likely to be rapid, as it was after the third dose.
“It’s short-lived, so I think time is important here,” said Marvin Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington. “If this is not going to produce a long-term, good quality immune response, then you have a little question about value.
Dozens of studies have now shown that most people are already protected from serious illness. Even when compared with oxycron, a type that can break down immune defenses and infect people, two or three doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines have been shown to be powerful enough to prevent serious illness in almost anyone, According to a recent CDC study.
Most vaccinated people who became seriously ill or died were older or had health conditions that compromised their immune response, the study found.
Probably only for people who are immune functioning or older than 65, according to the limited evidence available.
“If you are five or six months older than your last booster, and you are at high risk,” the obvious choice is to get a shot, said Dr. Watchter.
“As a healthy 64-year-old man whose third shot was seven months ago, I’ll get it this week if I can,” he added.
Other experts were more cautious about Americans rushing to get another booster.
“I am a firm believer in the vaccine. I think there are options for physicians and immune functioning and high-risk patients, “said John Weary, director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania.
But he emphasized an empty recommendation: “It is difficult for me to advocate for such an intervention in the complete absence of data.
Still, Dr. Watchter said he’d recommend a booster for anyone who qualifies. The virus may have been only accumulating in small quantities at this time, but it has not gone away. Americans who do not get boosters may be giving themselves or others at risk of infection, he warned.
Recent studies have suggested that falsehoods can damage the heart or the brain. Although vaccination significantly reduces the risk of long-term effects, studies “are all about saying that you do not want this infection if you can prevent it, even if you are 100 percent sure you” die. Are not, “said Dr. Watchter.
If the goal is to maintain protection against infection, Americans may need a booster every few months. Many experts think this is an unrealistic and unrealistic approach.
“It’s not a public health strategy, it’s not a viable strategy,” said Dr. Offut. “It also does not assume that any results are warranted.”
No one knows – yet. But it is not unreasonable to think that this will help, at least in the short term.
Last fall, the Biden administration recommended booster shots for most Americans, partly to reduce the spread of the virus. But Israeli studies in young people show that the fourth dose did not offer a strong blueprint against infection with Omicron.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was effective at 30% in preventing various infections, and the Moderna vaccine only accounted for 11%.
Still, diminished infections – to a great extent – mean fewer problems that a growing number of people will pass on to the virus.
“There may be a short period of time – you know, one to three months – where you are getting some protection from infection,” said Dr. Vary. “It will definitely slow down the transmission later.”
The protection against infection from booster doses expires quickly in just a few months, so a booster shot will no longer offer much defense in August or July.
It takes about a week for the immune system to recover after a shot. From that point, the antibodies will decrease over the next two to three months. So if you are eligible for a booster, you want to get maximum protection before your trip – or before the next extension.
“One of the things that is important is where we are in this epidemic,” said Dr. Pepper. “I could see what different types were doing.”
Late last year, when the Omicron variant was everywhere, getting a booster just made sense to prevent the infection.
Dr. Vary, who is 50, said he chose the third dose, though he did not have to worry about getting sick because the affair would be “extremely painful” for his work and his two children in high school.
“Now as a healthy 50-year-old, I see no need for a fourth dose,” he said. But he may review that choice if the case numbers are retracted.
Could be Vaccines are very safe, so getting an extra dose is not dangerous. But there can still be disadvantages.
For example, each dose may cause side effects such as fever, headache, fatigue, and joint pain – “which, when you are older, are not always normal,” Dr. Offett noted.
Repeated increases also provide diminishing results. Dr. Pepper’s team has evidence that the appearance of a fourth virus – whether through infection or vaccine – will not strengthen the immune system even after the third.
There is also some concern that repeated exposure to the original version of the vaccine will make the body less responsive to future versions. “When you are promoting the same street with different strains, you are not getting the bang for the buck,” said Dr. Omar.
And there is some evidence that vaccine medications can produce a stronger, longer-lasting immune response, perhaps even farther afield. If this is true, it will argue against boosters repeatedly.
Probably not for a while, all the experts said in the interview.
“You can think of a booster-like infection conceptually,” said Dr. Watchter. “People who have been infected in the last three months are probably as safe as if they had received a second booster.
The team at Dr. Pepper found that in those who were infected and then vaccinated, even the first booster shot did not help.
“You are on the threshold of any type of immune response with three manifestations of spike protein, whether it is through infection and vaccine or only via vaccine,” said Dr. Pepper.