Moderna CEO Claims People May Need 4th COVID-19 Shot in the Fall

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Moderna’s Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said on Thursday that people may need a fourth COVID-19 shot in the fall of 2022 due to the efficacy of third shots likely declining in the next several months.

“I still believe we’re going to need boosters in the fall of ’22 and forward,” Bancel said at a Goldman Sachs-organized health care conference.

According to a current advisory by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every American 18 and older may get their first booster dose six months after they receive their first two doses from either Moderna’s or Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, while those who got the one-shot dose from Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen can get boosted at least two months after receiving the initial dose.

Last week, Israel became the first country to approve a fourth dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, a second booster, for people who are immune-compromised and the elderly living in care homes.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett released a preliminary study on Tuesday that reported a fourth shot can “boost antibodies five-fold” a week after the shot is administered.

Bancel told Thursday’s conference that he also believes elderly citizens and those with underlying health conditions may need to get a booster shot every year.

The comments of the U.S.-based pharmaceutical company’s CEO also come just one day after the CDC said children from 12 to 17 years old “should” get a booster of Pfizer’s vaccine five months after their primary series, despite scant effectiveness data and concerns about post-vaccination heart inflammation.

“This booster dose will provide optimized protection against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. I encourage all parents to keep their children up to date with CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, said in a statement.

The CDC and Food and Drug Administration, relying on data from Israel, determined the booster’s benefits outweigh its risks. Preliminary data from the country suggest the booster leads to fewer cases of COVID-19.

Moderna, which benefits from repeat inoculations, during its third-quarter earnings results said commercial booster market sales could be up to $2 billion in the United States in 2022.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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