Pfizer suggests a third dose for optimized protection, especially in light of the dangerous Delta variant, but public health officials say this is not the time to rush it.
On Thursday, July 8, Pfizer warned American citizens that the protection from two doses could fade away after six months, hence recommending people to get an additional “booster” jab to achieve “the highest levels of protection.”
Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla recommended that the third dose could become an annual deal like the flu shot.
Soon afterward, the FDA and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement telling them not to rush for the third dose yet, giving that there has not been adequate data to prove its necessity.
“Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time,” they said in a statement according to CNN. “We are prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates that they are needed.”
The two top federal agencies recommended that it was more important for unvaccinated citizens to get immunized.
On Friday, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci agreed with the federal agencies about a third injection.
“We respect what the pharmaceutical company is doing, but the American public should take their advice from the CDC and the FDA,” he told CNN. “The message is very clear: the CDC and the FDA say if you have been fully vaccinated at this point in time, you do not need a booster shot.”
Although the pharmaceutical company mentioned that its conclusion came from an analysis of Israel data where the Delta variant is reigning, no specific information has been provided. Pfizer meanwhile promised that they would release their findings later.
Judging from real-world situations, it appeared that Pfizer may have some stance in saying people should not be so certain of their protection even if they were already administered with two doses.
The Israel Ministry of Health on Monday, July 5 stated that the vaccines were found to be a lot less effective than before, suggesting a potential impact of the Delta variant.
Before the Delta strain dominated the infected cases in Israel, the vaccine’s efficiency was 94% in May, which has now reduced significantly to 64%. However, statistics also show that the vaccine can still prevent severe illness or hospitalization by 93%.
Dr. William Schaffner, a professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, agreed that it is still the right time to rush for the booster dose.
“It’s wonderful to have a booster approved for emergency use authorization on the shelf—ready to go any time we need it. But I do not think we need it right now,” he told the outlet, adding that he believes the vaccines are still effective.
“It’s really unusual for a vaccinated person to be admitted to the hospital today for Covid-related illness, reinforcing the notion that these vaccines are still working against the variants,” he argued, advising vaccinated citizens not to be alarmed.