Saturday, November 27

Covid-19 Booster Injections Not Needed Now, But May Arrive On Time: Expert


A vaccine expert says that Covid-19 “booster” injections are not necessary at this time, but may be in the future.

Topic Image: Vaccination with BionTech Pfizer's Comirnaty mRNA Vaccine.  Vaccine dose with injectable vaccine with cannula.  Close up.

Photo: AFP

A booster vaccine is being considered in other countries. The United States intends to implement them, plans to offer a refill injection around eight months after a second dose to keep people’s immunity high.

The director of the Immunization Counseling Center and GP, Dr. Nikki Turner, who advises the government on vaccines, said that a booster shot is quite common for several different types of vaccines.

“Over time, our immune response decreases. If it decreases enough, you run the risk of contracting the disease again. Therefore, we give booster shots for many diseases to stop losing all their immunity and to continue to protect people from long term, “said Turner.

The booster shots tend to be the same vaccine again. In the case of New Zealand, it would probably be a third dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.

“The other possibility is that if the virus mutated even further, so that the original immune response was not as effective, then they would change the formula to make it different. That’s a bit like what we do with flu vaccines every year. When they are actually slightly different formulations, “Turner said.

TO Oxford University Study published this month found that Covid vaccines don’t protect people as well even after three months.

It found that the Pfizer vaccine was 75 percent effective in preventing infection after 90 days, compared to 85 percent two weeks after the second injection. The study has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Associate Professor James Ussher, a microbiologist at the University of Otago, is part of the government’s Covid-19 Vaccine Technical Advisory Group.

He said the Pfizer vaccine is very effective in preventing serious illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths.

It is not yet clear whether we will need a backup or not, he said.

“I think that’s still an open question at this point. There are certain groups that a booster shot may be recommended in, immunosuppressed groups. But a broader recommendation for a booster shot: there is no evidence to support the requirement for that. right now, “Ussher said.

Academics and the government would be on the lookout for emerging data, he said.

Vaccines continued to work well, even against the Delta variant, and severe cases worldwide generally only occur in the unvaccinated.

“Recent data from the US CDC suggested there was a 25-fold reduction in hospitalization and death in those who are vaccinated compared to those who are not, and an eight-fold reduction in symptomatic infection. “.

Dr. Turner said that fully vaccinated New Zealanders don’t need to worry about a booster at this stage.

“At this time there is no need to offer reinforcements to the New Zealand population. This is a long-term problem, looking ahead.”

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said New Zealand will have received 10 million doses of Pfizer by the end of the year. It would take around 8m for everyone to have two shots, so there would be about 2m left that could, if science recommended, be used as boosters.

The World Health Organization has asked rich countries to delay buying excess supplies, to ensure poorer countries get a first and second chance before others get thirds.


www.rnz.co.nz

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