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Vaccine makers are telling investors and the media that COVID booster shots are already in the works. In some cases, companies say the boosters may be needed because the vaccine’s effectiveness may run out. In other instances, they suggest booster shots will be needed to combat new COVID variants.
Annual COVID booster shots are music to the ears of investors. But some independent scientists warn that trying to outsmart the virus with booster shots designed to address the next variant could backfire, creating an endless wave of new variants, each more virulent and transmissible than the one before.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Thursday a third dose of the company’s COVID vaccine was “likely” to be needed within a year of the initial two-dose inoculation — followed by annual vaccinations.
Bourla said that “a likely scenario” is “a third dose somewhere between six and 12 months, and from there it would be an annual re-vaccination.”
“It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus,” Bourla said during an interview with CNBC. Booster shots will be an important tool in battling more contagious variants, he added.
Moderna’s chief commercial officer, Corinne M. Le Goff, said during a call with investors last week that Americans could start getting booster shots of its vaccine later this year to protect against COVID variants.
“It is likely that the countries that have already achieved high vaccine coverage are going to be ready to shift their focus to boosters in 2022, and possibly even starting at the end of this year,” Le Goff said.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has said its single-shot vaccine will probably need to be given annually.
The U.S. is also preparing for the possibility that a booster shot will be needed between nine to 12 months after people are initially vaccinated against COVID, a White House official said Thursday.
While the duration of immunity after vaccination is being studied, booster vaccines could be needed, David Kessler, chief science officer for President Biden’s COVID-19 response task force told a congressional committee meeting….
Does this not amount to a form of “gain of function” processing where germs are “taught” survival in an incremental series of slightly different hosts aimed at optimizing infection in the chosen target?