Do adults need a fourth dose of Covid vaccine? It’s too early to know.

WASHINGTON – Although new federal data shows that the effectiveness of booster shots decreases after about four months, the Biden administration has no plans to recommend a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine anytime soon.

“We simply don’t have enough data to know that it’s a good thing to do.” Peter Marks, head of the division of the Food and Drug Administration that administers vaccines, said in an interview this week.

In a separate interview, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the chief medical adviser to the White House, said vaccines are still solid results against severe illness, despite data from the Centers for Control and Prevention. Epidemic vaccines show that booster shots lose some of their effectiveness after four to five months.

CDC Researchreleased last Friday, analyzed hospitalizations and visits to emergency rooms and urgent care clinics in 10 states of people who had booster shots of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. The study found that protection from hospitalization fell from 91% two months after the third shot to 78% after four to five months. Efficacy against visits to emergency rooms or urgent care clinics dropped from 87 percent to 66 percent.

The data come with key caveats: The researchers did not examine variations by age group, underlying disease condition, or the presence of immune deficiencies. However, they said, the findings underscored the possible importance of the fourth shot.

“’Should I shoot a fourth time?’ That’s what a lot of people are asking me,” said Dr. Fauci. “The the answer is if you look at our current position, it looks like it good protection. Seventy-eight percent is fine. ”

The administration’s vaccine strategy has been under constant review since President Biden took office. Dr Fauci said what happens next will depend on whether the protection from the boosters holds steady or continues to decline after four to five months – and if it continues to decline, how steep. any.

“It’s not just the number, it’s the curvature of the curve,” he said.

That means more uncertainty for Americans exhausted by frequent changes in vaccine recommendations — hiccups largely forced by the emergence of new variants. Sterling Ransone, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, says his patients always ask about whether a fourth shot is necessary and if so, when.

“It’s frustrating, isn’t it?” “We humans want certainty and control over the situation,” says Dr. Ransone, who practices in the small town of Deltaville, Va. And this is a case where we don’t know what will happen in the future. We do not know the exact recommendation”.

In Bangor, Maine, Dr. James W. Jarvis, who leads the Covid response for Northern Light Health, a local health care system, says he emphasizes to his patients that the vaccine is working. how well it works, even if it needs to use boosters. While they don’t provide complete protection, he said, “the most recent data really shows that these vaccines are still doing well.”

The data from the UK is similar to that from the CDC, which indicates that boosters are about 75% to 85% effective against hospitalization 4 to 6 months after being injected. Israel has also noted a decline in the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the months following the booster, according to the CDC.

Israel began administering the fourth dose at the end of December, but only to medical staff. The CDC has recommended that people with compromised immune systems get three shots as part of their first series of shots, followed by a fourth dose as a booster.

Biden administration officials say two-thirds of eligible adults have received booster shots since additional shots were authorized in November. Children over 12 learn more slowly, who only qualified in early January.

Dr Marks said possibly the best time to get the booster shot is this fall, when the spread of the coronavirus is expected to flare up again. “If there aren’t any surprises from the new variants, perhaps it’s best to think about our boost strategy in conjunction with the flu vaccine next fall and attract as many as possible,” he said. people better.

Dr. Ransone says some of his patients prefer that, so they can get the vaccine in just one visit.

At a session held last month by FDA and University of California, San FranciscoDr Marks said he hoped that the third shot would be enough to provide a shield against the disease that would require only the annual Covid booster. But both he and Dr Fauci said it was impossible to make any predictions without more data.

Earlier this month, Dr. Fauci suggested that any recommendations will likely be aimed at those most at risk, possibly based on age as well as underlying conditions.

“I don’t think you’re going to hear, if you do, any kind of recommendation that’s going to apply to everyone,” he said at a White House briefing. “It will most likely take into account whether the small group of people who get relief, protect against important parameters like hospitalization.”

Kitty Bennett research contributions. Do adults need a fourth dose of Covid vaccine? It’s too early to know.

Fry Electronics Team

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