Pfizer is seeking approval for its third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, saying that an additional shot within 12 months would drastically boost immunity and ward off the newest variant.
Research from multiple countries shows that Pfizer and other vaccines have a strong protection against the delta variant, seen spreading quickly across the globe and is now the main strain reported in new U.S. cases.
Antibodies wane over time, so studies are being done to see if and when boosters might be needed.
According to Pfizer’s Dr. Mikael Dolsten, early information from the booster studies done by Pfizer show a dramatic increase in protection after a third booster shot in comparison to the second dose months earlier.
The plan is to ask the FDA for emergency use authorization in August.
While the authorization would be a first step for the company in studying a booster shot, it does not mean just anyone can get it. America is still working to get everyone their first dose, let alone a third.
Researchers have found that the Pfizer vaccine with two doses is 96% protective against hospitalization with the delta variant and 88% effective against having symptoms with an infection.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explained that while the delta variant is seen tearing through populations with a low vaccination rate, it shows the highly immunized populations of America getting back to normal while hospitalizations rise in lower vaccinated populations.
Walensky said a few weeks ago the delta variant accounted for a quarter of new U.S. cases, and now accounts for over 50%. In places like the Midwest it accounts for as much as 80%.
French researchers tested blood from people who had one dose of the vaccine and data showed it barely inhibited the delta variant, but after a second dose the boost was enough to neutralize it.
They also studied unvaccinated individuals who had not had the vaccine, and without a vaccine their antibodies were four-fold less likely to withstand infection of the delta variant. With one dose of the vaccine however, they had immunity boosted enough to combat the variant.
In the U.S. hospital rates have risen 7%, but death rates remain down on average due to the highly susceptible 65+ population becoming vaccinated.
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