FRIDAY, January 7, 2022 — Citing the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and the need to protect against it, US federal health officials are shortening the recommended time between a second dose of Moderna’s vaccine and a booster dose from six months down to five.
“The country is in the midst of a wave of a highly contagious Omicron variant, which is spreading more rapidly than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and other variants that have emerged,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Evaluation and Biological Research said in a statement.
“Vaccination is our best defense against COVID-19, including circulating variants, and shortening the time between completion of the initial series and booster dose may help reduce diminished immunity,” he said. “Today’s work also brings consistency in the timing of a booster dose among the available mRNA vaccines. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated – it’s never too late to get a COVID-19 vaccine or a booster.”
The new recommendation applies to everyone 18 years of age and older. The FDA notes that the side effects of the booster injection are usually mild — some discomfort at the injection site and transient fatigue, headache or muscle aches.
A similar time window for boosters already exists for people who have received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s CEO, indicated Thursday that more boosts could be in the future for Americans.
While the boosters that millions of Americans have received recently should remain potent during the winter Omicron boost, Bancel said the efficacy of the boosters will likely decline over several months, similar to what happened with the first two doses.
“I’d be surprised when we get this data in the coming weeks, which proves really well over time — I expect it won’t be as good,” Bancel said of the booster shots during an interview with Goldman Sachs during his healthcare. CEO conference, CNBC reported.
- US Food and Drug Administration, press release
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Posted Jan 2022