While the question of when the vaccinated public will require a COVID-19 booster remains unclear, some long-term care advocates are pushing for guidance to avoid a potential resurgence in infections in the fall and winter.
Nursing home residents were among the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Providing boosters to the demographic is vital to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections, which was a significant driver of overall mortality from the novel coronavirus at the beginning of the pandemic. “Hence, if and when the residents’ immunity wanes, we must be on high alert, lest we relive the horrors of the past year,” said Dr. Mike Wasserman, a member of California’s Vaccine Advisory Committee in an interview with ABC News.
Complicating matters is the fact that many older adults have a diminished ability to produce antibodies, increasing the risk of waning immunity among residents of long-term care facilities.
Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla anticipates that its boosters will be available in September or October.
Scientists are currently mulling when vaccinated people will need boosters and whether COVID-19 vaccines can be used interchangeably as boosters.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, concluded that booster shots will likely be an effective weapon in battling the novel coronavirus over the long term. “I don’t anticipate that the durability of the vaccine protection is going to be infinite — it’s just not,” he said during a recent Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. But while boosters are likely, scientists are still researching when the optimal interval in delivering them.
In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Dr. Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, concluded that COVID-19 vaccines likely confer long-term immunity, and the need for boosters is unclear.
Moderna, Pfizer and others are testing the use of existing COVID-19 vaccines as boosters while formulating modified versions to optimize protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.
Health experts in China have counseled that some at-risk populations receive a booster shot.
Filed Under: clinical trials, Drug Discovery, Infectious Disease