Calling the eradication of the COVID-19 virus “unlikely,” a UK scientific advisory group says (PDF) there is a “realistic possibility” that a variant will emerge that is resistant to the current battery of vaccines. Governments, public health organizations and vaccine makers are all tracking developments inand , hoping to answer the question if booster shots targeting new variants will be needed soon.
“Things are going to get worse,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the president, said Sunday on ABC’s This Week.
Currently in the US, “breakthrough” coronavirus cases caused by the dominant delta variant amount to less than 1% of people who are fully vaccinated. Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are proven to be over 90% effective against hospitalizations and death. The surge in new COVID-19 cases are primarily affecting unvaccinated people and causing community spread, and in turn, thein hard-hit areas, even for people who have full vaccine protection. The debate over mask use and vaccine boosters underscores how scientists and other health experts continue to grapple with the uncertainties of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent study shows that vaccinated people can both contract the highly contagious delta variant and spread it. According to a widely reported internal CDC memo, the delta variant spreads as easily as chicken pox, which is considered more contagious than the flu and less contagious than measles.
To prepare for the possibility of a booster shot, the CDC said it’s weighing a third vaccine dose for people with compromised immune systems. Over the weekend, Israel began administering third doses of the vaccine to those 60 and older, and the UK plans to do the same. However, this is resulting in a backlash among countries that are struggling to deliver first and second shots to residents.
On Wednesday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for a “moratorium” on booster shots in high-income countries, citing the global disparity in vaccine distribution. Of the 4 billion doses administered globally, 80% have gone to high- and upper-middle income countries that make up less than half of the world’s population, he said.
“We cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it, while the world’s most vulnerable people remain unprotected,” Tedros said.
What does all of this mean in the US? Here’s what we know about COVID booster shots now…Read more>>