According to the latest data presented by Bloomberg, more than 4.02 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered, covering 180 countries at the rate of 39 million doses daily. In the United States, 344 million doses have been administered to date.
A series of surveys carried out by different agencies and organizations collectively present the picture that the best vaccines are believed to be 95 percent effective. However, it will still take a herculean effort to stop the pandemic and for the world to return to normal. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines issued in May stated, it takes about two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine for full immunity to develop. After that, masks and social distancing may not be necessary.
However, it seems that a booster dose of the vaccine might be needed within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated. Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO, told CNBC, "A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a third dose, somewhere between six and 12 months, and then from there, there will be an annual revaccination, but all of that needs to be confirmed. And again, the variants will play a key role."
There is a growing consensus within the government that people aged 65 and above and/or with a compromised immune system may benefit from a third shot of the vaccine. However, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is too early to say whether people will need booster shots. The CDC has not authorized any yet, but the Biden administration is inclined to sanction booster doses.
BioNTech, the company that partnered with Pfizer to invent the vaccine, has reported that a third shot of the vaccine may improve the blood levels of antibodies and may provide enhanced protection against different versions of the coronavirus, including the dangerous and extremely contagious Delta variant. Some other research recommends mixing different types of vaccines for better immunity than using a single brand. Immediately after Pfizer's announcement, the FDA and US CDC issued a joint statement that people who have received both doses do not need booster shots, not yet.
Amidst all the announcements and counter-announcements, some researchers have signaled that most of the information and data available on the subject is preliminary. They have advised people not to assume that booster shots are necessary. More information and research are needed to make a conclusive decision on whether people will eventually need booster doses of the vaccines.
The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said they will make recommendations for booster doses when more data is available, and the benefits of taking boosters are irrefutably established. At the same time, the members of the committee expressed their concern about the rise in 'breakthrough' cases that occur even in fully vaccinated persons. They agreed that this could signal that the vaccine's immunity may wane in the future, necessitating booster doses for more robust protection.
Dr. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon-General, has told CNN that, "People should be prepared for the fact that we may need a booster within a year."
Yet, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the bottom line is "We don't know. We're preparing for the eventuality that we might need boosters, but I think we've got to be careful not to let the people know that inevitably, X number of months from now, everyone's going to need a booster. That's just not the case. We may not need it for quite a while."
Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna, the companies authorized for COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S., are researching the future use of boosters. The FDA and the CDC will make the decision on the use of the COVID-19 boosters. If Covid-19 boosters are decidedly necessary, Total Testing Solutions will be your resource for keeping you and your loved ones updated with the latest information and provide locations to receive the most current vaccines available.