As more get vaccinated against COVID, will we eventually need another shot?

Coronavirus

(WTNH) — Now that more people in our state are vaccinated against COVID, the big question for many is will we eventually need another shot?

Right now, medical professionals say we have enough evidence showing both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines last at least six months. The problem is variants are popping up and evolving, forcing scientists to think ahead.

“We are still very actively trying to get vaccines into arms as quickly as we possibly can,” Brita Roy, Director of Population Health at Yale School of Medicine.

The race is on for medical professionals to get people vaccinated quickly as the coronavirus evolves around the world. One variant reportedly popping up in New York and another in South Africa.

Health experts at Yale New Haven Health say a large number of people 45 and younger already in the hospital battling a variant. Many of them in New Haven.

The question is, will a booster be needed if immunity diminishes?

“It really just depends on the length of immunity and if the virus is still circulating,” Roy says.

Brita Roy with the Yale School of Medicine says while data shows vaccine immunity lasts at least six months, experts expect it to last about a year.

“They think that it is most likely that immunity will last approximately a year we just don’t have the data yet because we haven’t been able to follow people that long.”

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration said new variants may be authorized without lengthy clinical trials if a booster is needed.

The new guidance released in a 24-page document on the FDA’s website. Referring to the strain found in South Africa the administration writes:

Preliminary reports from clinical trials evaluating COVID-19 vaccine candidates in multiple countries including South Africa have added to concerns that vaccine efficacy against the B.1.351 variant may be lower than against the original virus…thus, there is an urgent need to initiate development and evaluation of vaccines against these SARSCoV-2 variants.

Moderna is currently testing variant-specific boosters and collecting data on the vaccine’s use in adolescents.

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