Moderna & Pfizer will have Omicron-targeted boosters available this year

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A few days ago, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel explained how the company was preparing to develop and provide a second Covid booster shot – and a fourth shot overall – to come out this fall. As in, when people are getting their annual flu shots this fall, we could get the newly developed Covid booster shot around the same time. Here’s more:

Moderna is working on a booster shot that will target the omicron variant of Covid for this fall as nations around the world prepare to distribute annual vaccinations against the virus.

“We are discussing with public health leaders around the world to decide what we think is the best strategy for the potential booster for the fall of 2022. We believe it will contain omicron,” CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday.

Bancel said the omicron-specific booster will enter clinical trials soon, and Moderna is discussing whether the shot needs to contain any other components to fight the virus.

“We need to be careful to try to stay ahead of a virus and not behind the virus,” he said. Moderna has signed advanced purchase agreements with upfront payments worth $18.5 billion with the United Kingdom, South Korea and Switzerland recently ordering shots for this fall. Bancel said the company can supply 2 billion to 3 billion booster doses this year.

“There are discussions ongoing on a daily basis. We want to be ready with the best product possible for the fall of ’22,” Bancel said.

[From CNBC]

Which is good! But I also think that by the fall, we’ll probably be dealing with a hellish new variant, plus Delta and Omicron. But I appreciate that Moderna is trying. Anyway, I was happy enough with that news, but now Pfizer’s CEO says that they will probably have an Omicron-specific booster shot available in March!!!

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Monday said that his company is aiming to have a vaccine that targets the omicron variant as well as other COVID-19 variants ready in March.

“This vaccine will be ready in March,” Bourla said in an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“We [are] already starting manufacturing some of these quantities at risk,” he added.

Pfizer will produce the doses to be ready in case countries want the shots, but Bourla noted that it was unclear if a vaccine targeting variants was necessary or how exactly it would be used.

“The hope is that we will achieve something that will have way, way better protection particularly against infections, because the protection against the hospitalizations and the severe disease — it is reasonable right now with the current vaccines as long as you are having let’s say the third dose,” Bourla said.

[From The Hill]

I’ve said this on Twitter a few times, but I would get a booster shot every month if they let me. My booster shot last November didn’t even knock me out that much – I was just sort of vaguely tired and out-of-it for a few days and that was it. If I get a fourth shot or a fifth shot, maybe I’ll start floating. Maybe I’ll never get sick again. Anyway, if Pfizer is updating their vaccine so it’s more effective against Omicron, does that mean people will be able to get their second booster shots this spring with Pfizer’s new formula? It sounds like it. Your move, Moderna!!

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19 Responses to “Moderna & Pfizer will have Omicron-targeted boosters available this year”

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  1. Annaloo. says:

    Yes! And *sigh*. Also read that booster efficacy decreases to 35% for Pfizer and 45% for moderna after 10 weeks. I am just never going to leave my house again, I think.

    • Persephone says:

      Me too, Annaloo. Me too.

    • Korra says:

      Yes, against preventing infections, but they are still very effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalizations, and death. Regardless of new variants or not, the antibodies were always going to wane. What gets ignored in the conversation about vaccine efficacy are how good the vaccines are at creating robust, long-term T and B cell memory — the ability for our bodies’ to recognize a covid infection and produce more antibodies to fight it off. Because zero covid was never feasible, that is why vaccine access was so important — it defangs the disease and gives less opportunities for the virus to mutate in unvaccinated bodies. But realistically, unless you are immuncompromised or have other health issues that make it harder to mount a good immune response to the vaccine, a covid infection is inevitable at some point in your life, but hopefully will not be a heavy burden if you have gotten the two shots and the booster.

      I also want to note that Israel, who has been ahead of the game in terms of studying vaccine efficacy in their population, has early data on how effective a 4th shot would be. There was an increase in antibodies for sure, but the jump wasn’t significantly substantial the way it was between the second shot and third shots, which could signal a marginal utility for how many shots are necessary to maintain vaccine efficacy among a general population.

  2. Anne says:

    There was also a pre-print paper (so take with a big grain of salt!) that seemed to show that full vaccination + breakthrough infection = super immunity to COVID. I’m hoping that’s true- so between milder variants, more super immunity, AND boosters this thing can become endemic and we can all move on with our lives.

  3. Sarah says:

    I’m double vaxxed and boosted and mask up all the time and I started feeling unwell at the end of last week and bought a home test kit. Both were negative. Went to the health department yesterday, it was positive. I have moderate symptoms. I can’t imagine what they’d be like unvaxxed. So grateful for the scientists and vaccines that have saved my life!

    • Lauren Too says:

      Get well soon!

    • KC says:

      Sarah, this makes me nervous! I’m double vaxxed and boosted and was exposed Christmas Day (to someone double vaxxed and boosted) and thankfully had an antigen test packet since testing sites were booked the next week. Day 5-negative. Day 7- negative. So feeling a little worse than day 3 (maybe because of the wonky weather) but not being able to get a PCR, not quarantining, back to teaching first grade I went on Day 8 because CDC says.

  4. Lilly (with the double-L) says:

    Oh my gosh, I’m with you Kaiser and others, I’ll take all the boosters. But, it’s a difficult prediction path, just like with the flu and we’ll be on to the new names by then. Still, I’m glad the scientists are dedicated. albeit from funding through the corporations looking at their profits.

  5. Kristen says:

    This week Fauci said that a variant specific vaccine is unnecessary given that the current vaccines provide strong protection again Omicron.

  6. CE says:

    I really, really don’t want to get another booster until next winter. I just got boosted. I’m willing to let this be an annual thing until it “goes away” but at some point, myself not being in any high-risk groups, I’d love to phase all of this out. That’s just my personal feelings about it. This whole experience has just annihilated my mental health progress and the longer it goes on, the worse it gets.

  7. Heather says:

    I agree with you. I’ll get as many boosters as they provide. I have no interest in suffocating to death.

  8. Jan90067 says:

    There already is a new variant in Cypress and Israel; they’re calling it Deltacron (combo of Delta and Omicron variants).

    This can only be the beginning. Let’s hope more future mutations won’t be stronger than what we have now! 🙏

    I don’t care if I have to have yearly, bi-annual, or quarterly boosters if it keeps me healthy and alive!

  9. Lauren Too says:

    I’m ok with getting boosters every 4 to 5 months (which will likely become the norm until the pandemic stops), but at one point or the other, we will have to start mass vaccination in poorer countries and seriously deal with the novaxxers otherwise we will just be getting variant after variant.

    • Dee Kay says:

      This is my fear — that we will *never* be over COVID because new variants will just keep springing up. Agree with what you say — we need to start vaxxing every country and mandating anti-vaxxers just get their shots, requiring it by law or by employer decree.

  10. K says:

    I think it is obvious that the real power of this virus is the ability to mutate. We will see endless variations without seeing much weakening. I am thinking a yearly shot with “boosters ” 2x a yr

  11. MelOn says:

    I am terrified of needles, but as soon as my place of business has the booster available, I’ll be in to get it.