DETROIT – Many people are wondering if a booster dose of the COVID vaccine will be needed.
Pfizer announced Thursday it plans to seek emergency FDA authorization for a booster dose.
Vaccine makers are testing booster doses and are developing boosters that could target specific variants if those boosters are needed.
Pfizer said its research showed booster doses of its vaccine produced levels of neutralizing antibodies that are five to 10 times higher than what was produced after two doses.
Health experts stress that vaccines are working.
“The answer is that our vaccines still are very, very effective in keeping us out of the hospital, in averting severe disease,” said Dr. William Schaffner. “That’s what they were designed to do.”
But they are concerned about the highly contagious delta variant.
“We know that the Delta variant has increased transmissibility and it is currently surging in pockets of the country with low vaccination rates,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
According to the CDC, the weekly average of new COVID cases and hospitalizations is rising again and that the delta variant now accounts for about 80% of all cases in western and midwestern states.
“Every patient I have had to hospitalize due to COVID-19 has been unvaccinated,” said Dr. Angelique Campen.
The fear is that more infections could mean more mutations of the virus and more deadly variants to come.
“If we don’t get enough vaccinated, there’s going to be another variant that’s probably worse,” said Dr. Howard Jarvis. “That’s the way viruses work.”
Health experts said that’s why the focus right now needs to be on getting more people vaccinated in the United States and around the world.