Booster? Fourth shot? Up to date? Future of coronavirus vaccination confused as approaches vary | Health info

A handful of developments this week have underscored that while experts agree COVID-19 is likely here to stay, the future timeline for coronavirus vaccinations remains muddled.

An Israeli government advisory committee earlier this week recommended that the country offer a fourth dose of the vaccine to people aged 18 and over who are at least five months away from their third injection or from recovering from the coronavirus.

Israel has long led the way in distributing vaccines to its populations, with most of its initiatives later being adopted in other countries.

But – underlying the differing opinions on whether or not a fourth dose is needed for the general population – the director general of the Ministry of Health went against the panel’s recommendation. Instead, the country will offer the additional vaccine to people over the age of 18 with underlying health conditions and a high risk of serious illness, caregivers of such people, and people over 18 at risk. very high exposure in the workplace.

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The decision came the same day Moderna announced data showing that six months after a booster injection, levels of antibodies raised against the omicron variant had increased more than sixfold. However, the antibodies were still detectable, further complicating the picture of how often more shots might be needed in the future.

Moderna and Pfizer have launched coronavirus vaccine trials that specifically target the omicron variant. Earlier this month, Moderna’s CEO said the shot might be needed in the fall.

“We are talking with public health officials around the world to decide what we think is the best strategy for the potential fall 2022 recall. We believe it will contain omicron,” the CEO said. Stephane Bancel at CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Saturday that coronavirus booster shots every four to five months was “not a good scenario” and that he hoped to move to an annual shot instead.

“Once a year it’s easier to convince people to do it. It’s easier for people to remember it,” he said. “So from a public health perspective, it’s an ideal situation.”

In the United States, some immunocompromised Americans recently became eligible to receive a fourth vaccine under an updated recommendation on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine schedule.

But pharmacies were reportedly reluctant to administer a fourth dose to the group, prompting White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain to Tweeter that the CDC “is going to send stronger messages to pharmacies to make sure this happens.”

Given that the third shots were first offered to immunocompromised people before being rolled out to the entire adult population, the development raises questions about potential changes to the general population’s vaccination schedule in the future. .

Still, there may not be much appetite for regular, repeated coronavirus injections in the United States, given that only 40% of fully vaccinated people have received a booster shot, CDC data shows. .

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