Moderna said on Thursday a third shot of its two-dose vaccine for the Chinese coronavirus will “likely be necessary” prior to winter — news that follows discussions of ongoing coronavirus booster shots similar to an annual flu shot.
Moderna announced additional data on its vaccine on Thursday, revealing it is maintaining a 93 percent efficacy six months after the last dose of the shot.
“We are pleased that our COVID-19 vaccine is showing durable efficacy of 93 percent through six months, but recognize that the Delta variant is a significant new threat so we must remain vigilant,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement.
However, the company, which detailed the data during a second-quarter earnings presentation, said the vaccine will “continue to wane and eventually impact vaccine efficacy,” meaning a booster shot will be necessary, likely before the winter months.
“We believe that increased force of infection resulting from Delta, non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) fatigue, and seasonal effects (moving indoors) will lead to an increase of breakthrough infections in vaccinated individuals,” the company said in the presentation.
“While we see durable Phase 3 efficacy through 6 months, we expect neutralizing titers will continue to wane and eventually impact vaccine efficacy,” it continued.
“Given this intersection we believe dose 3 booster will likely be necessary prior to the winter season,” Moderna stated.
One of the presentation’s slides outlines the company’s vision to ultimately “develop a respiratory vaccine for the adult and elderly populations combining seasonal flu, COVID-19 booster, and RSV.”
Moderna’s announcement follows chatter of coronavirus booster shots for the Pfizer vaccine as well. This year, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla previewed his vision for annual doses.
“We believe that the third dose will raise the antibody response 10- to 20- fold,” Bourla said at the time.
“Every year, you need to go to get your flu vaccine,” he explained. “It’s going to be the same with COVID. In a year, you will have to go and get your annual shot for Covid to be protected.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) data, more than 88 million people in the U.S. have received the Pfizer vaccine, while over 63 million have received Moderna. Roughly 13 million opted for the traditional single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.