Another Booster? What You Need to Know about Vaccine Manufacturers’ Fourth Shot
Both Pfizer and Moderna have asked the FDA to approve a second booster dose of their Covid-19 vaccines.
Could some adults be in for a fourth Covid-19 vaccine? Certainly looks that way. Drugmakers Moderna and Pfizer have both asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a fourth dose of their Covid-19 vaccines as a second booster.
Pfizer reached out to the FDA last Tuesday, asking the agency to authorize its fourth shot as a booster for those who are 65 years old and over, but Moderna is asking for a much broader authorization—hoping their fourth dose will be made available to all adults.
In a press release, Moderna said its request for approval for all adults was made to “provide flexibility” to the CDC to determine if the additional vaccine was necessary to the continued health of all adults in the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
There are a few things to keep in mind about a possible fourth dose, however. Let’s dive into just a few.
Stalled Funding Could Be an Issue. Last week, the White House released a statement that said if a fourth booster shot became necessary, it would not be able to fund enough doses for everyone due to pandemic funding being stalling in Congress.
Officials have Warne that the lack of funding also threatens to impact testing capabilities and antiviral treatments for Covid-19. The administration has so far not offered a path forwarded for funding, saying that it would defer to Congress for specifics.
Lack of Confidence in Boosters. According to the CDC, 44 percent of fully vaccinated people have received a booster dose, with two out of three people over the age of 65 getting the third dose. About half of the U.S. population that is eligible for the third shot has yet to get one, accounting for nearly 89 million people.
According to some public health experts, convincing people to get a fourth dose will likely prove as difficult as it has been to convince fully vaccinated people to get a third dose. People who were open to getting the third dose will likely get the fourth, but for those who have not received the third vaccine by now will probably not look to get a fourth.
Some Countries are Already Giving More Shots. Countries like Denmark and Chile have already begun vaccinating their most vulnerable communities with the second booster shot. Though only a few countries have participated in the rollout, it does offer researchers the ability to study the effects and possible benefits of a fourth shot.
When Pfizer announced its request for a second booster dose, it referenced a study from Israel that said 700 adults with the fourth dose had antibodies in the blood that increased seven to eight times at least three to four weeks after receiving a second booster shot.