A third Moderna booster shot will likely be available by the fall

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As of Sunday, more than half of the adult in the US have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s great news. 84 million adults, about one third, have been fully vaccinated. As anticipated, however, the initial doses of the vaccine may not be the full protection we need against the virus. Pfizer, whose vaccine has the highest efficacy rate at 91%, just reported that their vaccine is effective for at least six months, but it is likely a booster will be required between six and 12 months after your second dose to protect against variants and to ensure protection. Now Moderna is claiming they, too, will probably require a third dose and are trying to get it ready for production by the fall.

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, which currently requires two doses and is said to be over 90 percent effective against the virus, will likely include a third shot made available later this year.

CEO Stéphane Bancel recently said that the booster shot will likely be open to the public in the fall to provide additional immunity against COVID-19 variants that have spread from other countries, including Brazil, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

“Our goal is to work really hard to get this ready before the fall,” Bancel told CNBC.

Bancel also said that while health officials anticipate “a lot” of COVID-19 variants occurring in the U.S. “in the next year or so,” the increase of vaccinations will help slow the variant spread down.

Eventually, Moderna hopes to create a two-in-one vaccine that protects against both the seasonal flu and COVID, Bancel said. “What we’re trying to do at Moderna actually is to get a flu vaccine in the clinic this year and then combine our flu vaccine to our Covid vaccine so you only have to get one boost at your local CVS store … every year that would protect you to the variant of concern against Covid and the seasonal flu strain,” he told CNBC.

[From People]

I admit I don’t have much background in vaccines. I know how most of them work but I don’t know how they are developed or monitored. Even so, this booster news doesn’t surprise me. We’ve already seen the expected breakthrough cases for those who had been fully vaccinated. I called the information “scary” when I wrote about it. I do understand this the margin of error with any vaccine, but after a year of being terrified of this virus, I get scared by its statistics easily. Like I did when I heard about the new variants, even though I also know that’s how disease works. But a third dose of vaccine doesn’t scare me. Maybe ask me after my second dose of Moderna, because I hear that’s a real doozy, but I still think it’ll be better than the alternative.

I’m curious about the 2-in-1 with the flu vaccine booster that Moderna is looking to develop. I like the efficiency, but I guess this COVID booster will be necessary annually for the foreseeable future. I know there will come a time when we’ll have COVID in our rearview mirrors, but I keep thinking that knowing when that might be would do so much for my dire mindset. At least science has our backs. And with the news about the COVID vaccines and cancer treatments yesterday, and this potential flu/COVID hybrid booster – wouldn’t it be nice if something good came out of this nightmare?

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Photos credit: CDC and Hakan Nura on Unsplash

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32 Responses to “A third Moderna booster shot will likely be available by the fall”

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  1. Sigmund says:

    Pfizer also thinks there may be a booster needed within a year of your second dose. With the way this virus works, specifically how quickly it mutates into different variants, I’m not surprised.

    I do love Moderna’s idea of a hybrid flu-covid shot. Great idea.

  2. FHMom says:

    A two in one vaccine is what I will be looking for. I hope Pfizer works on it, also. I hate needles, but I was practically giddy after getting my 2 Pfizer shots. I had a bad day after the second shot, but it was a small price to pay to help reach herd immunity and protect yourself, your family and your community.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Doesn’t Pfizer have a 95% efficacy? Although in real world trials more like 90%?

    I got Moderna and after my second dose, I had some body aches, nothing serious. They say it can lead to stronger side effects if you’re younger or have had COVID.

    I also hate needles but I was so excited and nearly cried when the nurse gave me my second shot.

    • Giddy says:

      After my second Moderna dose my only reaction was that I slept most of the day. I will happily go for a third booster, and more if recommended. The peace of mind that being vaccinated has given me is incalculable.

      • tempest prognosticator says:

        This is similar to my experience. I got the 2nd Moderna shot in the late afternoon and had a very good, long night’s sleep.

      • (The OG) Jan90067 says:

        Very similar. I had a LOT of fatigue, slept for 2 1/2 days, with some brain fog, a *bit* achy (and a sore arm). When I woke up the 3rd day after, it was like a light switch, and it was GONE. Felt SO much better, and haven’t had one problem since.

        Will be forever grateful to have gotten this shot (and the LAFD people at Dodger Stadium for making it a painless procedure all the way from entry to jab).

      • Christin says:

        My reaction to the 2nd was mild. Had a slightly sore upper arm (not as sore as the first jab, though) followed by very brief chilling episodes (probably two minutes total) and a slightly raised temperature. My usual temp is below average, so the raised temperature was really in normal range.

        I received my doses in late afternoon at the end of the work week. Any tiredness was barely noticeable, as I am always fatigued by the weekend.

        I was happy to know my body was responding. The jab was so fast that I needed that reassurance.

      • lucy2 says:

        I had achy joints and a very low fever after Moderna 2, but it was nothing. So grateful to be vaccinated!
        The yearly booster has been talked about for months, so hopefully no one is surprised by this. I love the idea of combining it with a flu shot. I know many people who NEVER get a flu shot but did get the COVID shot, so combining should increase flu shots too. Hopefully between that and people maybe wearing masks during flu season, we don’t have hundreds of thousands of cases every year.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      My second dose just left me with extreme fatigue for a day and a sore arm for 2 days.

  4. Sofia says:

    I do think it will end up becoming like the flu in terms of vaccinations. Booster shots will need to be taken every year the same way people take the flu vaccine every year.

  5. FancyPants says:

    After getting a giant lump under my arm and being really sick after my second Moderna shot, I *really* don’t want another shot, but I will if that’s what it takes to end this. Sigh.

    • Izzy says:

      That’s what happened to me, including the lump – a swollen lymph node. I was actually really glad because it means I had a strong immune reaction to the shot , so, antibodies. Hopefully it also means future shots won’t be quite as rough.

  6. Red Dog says:

    We will be lucky if they’ve even started vaccinating under 50s by the end of the year in Australia… We can’t keep it out forever and our federal government is completely incompetent. It was only by our states going rogue (namely Victoria) that we managed to effectively eliminate it. We were told the target would be 10mil vaccinated by the end of April. We’re at just over a million and have come to a screeching halt because they put all our eggs in the AZ basket. The only person I know who has received the first dose is my mid 90s grandmother (thankfully).

    • Christin says:

      I am sorry for those who don’t yet have access. We had access sooner than anticipated, but we also have maskless deniers all around us. I doubt my area will reach 40 percent uptake levels. There is literally more vaccine than people willing to take it here, with choices now as to which brand you get.

      • Red Dog says:

        Far out, that is a grim number of anti-vaxxers! I know we’re still in an incredibly fortunate position, but we’re screwed if a monster variant gets loose and we’re mostly still unvaccinated. And winter is just about here..

      • sassafras says:

        Yes, they’re expecting vaccinations in America to level off very soon because of all the anti-vaxxers or vaccine-hesitant (this can include members of the Black communities who have good reason to be mistrustful of government medicine.)

        This is why they’ve already lowered the ages to 16 and why we need EVERYONE who is eligible and may be allowing the older or ill populations to “go first” to just go ahead and get in line. Getting MORE immunity out there sooner will help the older/ ill/ disabled/ BIPOC communities as they become reachable/ convinced.

    • lucy2 says:

      I hope that increases for you. I am jealous of how under control it is there, but as more things open up, the vaccine is going to be crucial.

      • Red Dog says:

        Oh I know, Lucy – I was living in the worst hotspot postcode in the country when the Victorian outbreak was going exponential, and even though our lockdown was so long, it was an incredible relief. Then the AZ news hit, along with the “we effed up monumentally and there’s no Pfizer coming for the under 50s until the end of the year, so good luck!” message. Now I’m back to the same constant feeling of dread as this time last year. We could have had a mRNA production facility almost ready by now if they had started when it was first flagged.

  7. Midge says:

    I work in the largest vaccine POD in the country. They’ve known this and been planning accordingly.

  8. Kkat says:

    I had a mild/ moderate case of covid that lingered for 5 months. The effects of the shot is Nothing compared to that and I had a pretty strong immune response to the shots.

    People who are complaining about the covid vaccine have obviously not had their shingles vaccine. Now THAT was horrible lol
    I was down for 8 days like I had the flu really bad, my arm hurt so bad for about 10 days I couldn’t lay on it. If I rolled over the pain would wake me up. And I had a 104 fever for 6 days. I had literally all the worst side effects but apparently it’s pretty common and that vaccine is considered the one with the harshest immune response.
    BUT still better than getting shingles, so I’ll do it again if needed. My dad almost went blind the 2nd time he had shingles and my mother in law developed severe anxiety, depression and early onset dementia and died from it. Shingles is no joke.
    But the covid vaccine response is nothing compared to the shingles, or actually getting covid.

    I’ll be first in line to get a covid booster

    • Midge says:

      I had a mild case of covid in March April last year, cough persisted though for 2 months. My ribs and sternum hurt from coughing. It took 8 months for my lungs to recover. I’m a marathoner and could barely run a half mile without walking breaks and a new inhaler and running 2 minutes slower per mile than usual. It’s been a long road back and now I run 5 miles max but I can finally do it without struggling to breathe or coughing. People don’t understand how this virus can affect them. I also had a strong immune response to the Moderna vax and am working at a vaccine pod. Get vaccinated. Get boosters. You don’t want this virus.

    • Amelie says:

      I think you had a pretty strong reaction to the shingles shot because I have never heard of someone being down for a whole WEEK. My dad also reacted to the shingles shot but it didn’t last a week. More like 2-3 days he felt tired and crappy and he felt feverish too but it was about a 48-72 hour window. So I don’t think a week long reaction is that common?

      • lucy2 says:

        My parents have both had the shingles shot with no side effects. Worth getting no matter what, I know several people who have had shingles and it’s brutal.

  9. Frida_K says:

    I got a flu shot once and even fourteen years later, I still remember how terribly ill it made me.

    My reaction to my two COVID vaccinations was so ghastly that I am genuinely afraid to try a booster. I think a combo of flu + COVID would kill me and this is not hyperbole. I had my second vaccination almost three weeks ago and am only now feeling human again. I believe that part of this is due to going on a very strict auto immune protocol (AIP) diet, plus I get regular acupuncture. But I had every adverse event listed on the “common adverse events” chart to the absolute extreme plus a few others that weren’t listed.

    I am all for getting vaccinated and I completely recognize that I am an unusual case.

    I find it very troubling and demoralizing that there is little to no information available for people like me, though. Jolly bromides about how the shot may make you feel worse the second time around were useless. And the notion that you have a dreadful time on round one if you’ve been infected with COVID is not accurate in all cases. Unless I was completely asymptomatic from start to finish, I’ve never had COVID. Also, I know people who have had COVID and recovered who did not react to the first shot. And the story that this is just a li’l Fauci ouchie that makes your arm a kinda sore does not pertain to me at all. Not at all.

    So yes. The notion of a booster, much less a booster plus a generalized flu shot? Ay, dios mío, no. I wish I could easily get the shots but I can’t, and though I am willing to suffer for the COVID shots and am grateful for them, I do not know if I could do a yearly booster.

    This is so demoralizing.

    • Larisa says:

      I’m sorry, Frida_K, that is rough when you’re the outlier and everyone acts that it’d no biggie because you’re in the minority. :-( . Health issues take a toll both on your body and mind. I understand your fear of boosters. I guess that is precisely why we need all the people who don’t have a severe reaction to get vaccinated – so you don’t have to and are still safe through herd immunity. But alas…

    • lucy2 says:

      Hopefully by the time we get to that point, you have more answers and options. I would imagine you’d be able to opt for it singularly or a combo, but hopefully your doctor is good and can guide you through it.
      A friend of mine has horrible reactions to the flu shot, and the Covid shots knocked her on her butt too, but she was too afraid to not get them. She may have a hard time with the yearly boosters too.
      That’s why it’s imperative for everyone who can get them without problems to do so, to protect those who can’t!

      • Frida_K says:

        Thank you both, @Larisa says and @lucy2. Your compassion and understanding mean a lot to me.

        I won’t share the horror story because I don’t want to either scare regular people (who will never experience such bad reactions) away from getting vaccinated OR give anti-vaxxers fodder for refusing the shots. All I will say is that I did find one case that had one of my issues and I did find a research study that looked at this issue and how many people got it after having a variety of shots, like Hepatitis A and B, the shingles shot, etc. So I know for sure that some of the horror I experienced is known and considered to be a rare reaction to common injections.

        I’m starting to feel human again, but I got my first shot on 2/25 and I really have had to change my life to make healing a priority. I never did really recover after the first shot and the second one took me back to square one and then some.

        I feel badly about this, too, because I wanted to get vaccinated and I’m grateful to be vaccinated and I am willing and eager to do my part to flatten the curve. But I honestly think I could be left permanently disabled by them. I wish I could be like the majority and have a day or two of feeling crappy at worst, but then be happy to be vaccinated. But that’s not how it goes for me.

        We’ll see. I’m going to try a booster, as long as it’s not a combo one, and if I can do it, good, and if not, well, I’ll either be dead or I’ll be able to say that I gave it my best effort.

  10. Izzy says:

    Moderna has already started dosing patients in their booster clinical trials. They’re only running it in four cities because they are getting that good a response for people to enroll in the trial. I actually tried to sign up but it’s not in my state!

  11. Amelie says:

    I got my second Moderna shot almost two weeks ago and this makes me happy to know they are developing a booster shot because by October I will hit the 6 month mark and that is usually around peak flu season. The first shot I just had arm soreness and a bit of jitteriness/brain fog that first day. The second shot I had the 24 “Moderna slump” which didn’t hit me until about 12 hours after getting the shot (I got it in the morning and started feeling side effects at bed time). I had chills, a pounding headache (I kept Tylenol handy which helped), and just general nausea/malaise. I did take a day off and was just very lethargic and useless. But I was prepared because most of my coworkers had to take a day off after getting their second shot. The temporary discomfort is worth the protection of the vaccine. I woke up two days after getting the shot feeling refreshed and like nothing had ever happened.

  12. Case says:

    Drink lots of water and Gatorade the day before your shot. Helped people I know with side effects a lot!

  13. Nic says:

    I really don’t like the idea of a yearly vaccine. I have POTs and the side effects of the vaccine are likely to send me into a flare for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. I’m not anti vax but that is not something I want to have to deal with yearly.

  14. Agirlandherdog says:

    Hecate, listen to This Podcast Will Kill You! They have a two-part episode about vaccines in general, and an episode specifically about the covid vaccines. One host is a medical doctor; the other is a PhD in disease ecology and epidemiology. They really break things down for the rest of us.