Health experts say COVID-19 booster shots likely helpful for some people by the end of the year

Posted at 6:50 AM, Jul 26, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — As the COVID-19 delta variant surges across the country, researchers are focusing on the strain and any others that may follow to make sure the vaccines offer enough protection and see if a booster shot is necessary.

“What’s happening with Pfizer and Moderna and some of the other companies is that they’re kind of trying to look into the future and figure out what’s going to happen four, six months down the line,” said Dr. Thomas Unnasch, Distinguished Professor our University of South Florida Health.

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), reviewed some preliminary data surrounding another shot, saying at this moment we don’t need it yet.

However, the CDC is actively monitoring safety studies and will continue to look at new data.

Currently, the vaccines are still highly effective against severe illness from the delta variant.

“It would be a really good idea to go now to try and get authorization from the FDA now to set up that whole process of getting the booster shots ready to go rather than wait until we actually need the booster shots,” said Unnasch.

While the CDC says we don’t need a booster shot right now, experts say we likely will at some point this year.

“Chances are at that point we’re going to see some waning immunity among people who got vaccinated early," said Unnasch.

Some researchers think we may need another dose around November or December, especially for people who are immunocompromised or got the vaccine early.

“It’s going to be a good idea I think for us to actually start thinking about getting vaccination and getting booster shots at that point in time,” said Unnasch.