Story at a glance

  • The vaccine maker announced Thursday that its COVID-19 shot remained 93 percent effective against symptomatic disease six months after the second dose.
  • But Moderna said the spread of the highly contagious delta variant combined with waning immunity over time means boosters would be needed.
  • White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci on Thursday said the Biden administration is moving to get immunocompromised people booster shots “as quickly as possible.”

Biotechnology company Moderna says it expects people will need to get a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine before this winter as the delta variant will likely lead to more breakthrough infections. 

The vaccine maker announced Thursday that its COVID-19 shot remained 93 percent effective against symptomatic disease six months after the second dose, and the company plans to complete its application for full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this month. 

But while the vaccine maintained a high level of protection over six months, Moderna said the spread of the highly contagious delta variant combined with waning immunity over time means boosters would be needed to keep people safe from severe illness. 

“We believe that increased force of infection resulting from Delta, non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) fatigue, and season effects (moving indoors) will lead to an increase of breakthrough infections in vaccinated individuals,” Moderna said in a presentation posted to its website. 

“While we see durable Phase 3 efficacy through 6 months, we expect neutralizing titers will continue to wane and eventually impact vaccine efficacy. Given this intersection, we believe dose 3 booster will likely be necessary prior to the winter season,” Moderna said. 

White House Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci on Thursday said the Biden administration is moving to get immunocompromised people booster shots “as quickly as possible.” 


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“It is extremely important for us to move to get those individuals their boosters, and we are now working on that and will make that be implemented as quickly as possible, because for us and for the individuals involved it is a very high priority,” Fauci said

Israel, France and Germany are moving forward with plans to offer boosters to the immunocompromised and the elderly, defying a plea by the World Health Organization (WHO) to hold off through September so poorer nations can get more of their population inoculated. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday called WHO’s request for a moratorium on booster shots a “false choice,” as the U.S. could administer booster shots while continuing to donate to the global vaccine supply. 


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Published on Aug 05, 2021