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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.
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News of Moderna's booster shot comes as Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla recently said that those taking the company's vaccine — which, like Moderna, currently requires two doses and is over 90 percent effective — will need a third dose in the next 12 months.
It remains unclear how long the immunity against the virus lasts in both Moderna and Pfizer's vaccines. However, Moderna said last week that its vaccine was 94.5 percent effective at the six-month mark, while studies on the Pfizer vaccine show it has had a 91 percent efficacy for at least six months.
Recent data that came out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that around 5,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 came from people who were fully vaccinated. That data amounts to a small fraction — 0.008 percent — of the fully vaccinated people in the country.
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A third COVID vaccine, created by Johnson & Johnson that requires one dose, was recently halted from rollout after six recipients in the United States developed a rare blood clotting disorder within two weeks of vaccination.
However, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he expects the Johnson & Johnson shots will likely resume soon with warnings and/or restrictions, according to CNBC.
As of April 18, at least 131,247,546 people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of the vaccine, which amounts to 39.5 percent of the total population and over 50 percent of adults (ages 18 and up.) Of that amount, 84,263,408 people, or 25.4 percent of the total population, have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
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