By now you know that if you're getting the Moderna or Pfizer COVID vaccine, you're scheduled for two doses, while with Johnson&Johnson's vaccine, it's only one dose. However, these shots are likely not the only ones you'll receive in your lifetime to keep you safe from the novel coronavirus. Since the initial vaccines were approved, pharmaceutical manufacturers have been working on follow-up shots, and the CEO of Moderna just revealed when the company plans to have their booster shot available for the public. Read on to find out the company's predicted timeline and for more on Moderna, This Is How Much the Moderna Vaccine Protects You, New Study Says.
The Moderna CEO says booster shots will be available by late summer or early fall.
Booster shots may be ready for the public sooner than imagined. "We're working very hard to potentially have late summer, early fall, that boost for the variants authorized to be able to be used in the marketplace for boosting people," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said during an International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations briefing on April 23.
According to Bancel, the preclinical data for the Moderna one-dose booster shot already looks encouraging and he expects that clinical data should come as early as May. And for more on this specific vaccine, Moderna Caused This Reaction in 82 Percent of People, New Study Says.
Moderna is working on booster shots that will help target emerging variants.
Bancel admitted that the coronavirus variants are his "biggest worry" amid COVID right now. A small March study published in the scientific journal Nature showed that the percentage of neutralizing antibodies the Moderna vaccine yielded was 12.4 times lower against the South African variant, B.1.351, than it was with the original virus strain. But Moderna's booster shots will target this and other emerging strains. According to Bancel, the company is currently working on two variant-specific booster vaccines: one against the variant B.1.351 and another multivalent booster candidate. "Getting quick action of variants is going to be key," Bancel said. And for more on vaccines and variants, This One Vaccine May Protect You Against All Variants, New Study Says.
Moderna is also looking to combine COVID and flu shots.
During an appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box on April 14, Bancel revealed that Moderna hopes to target two health concerns in the future with one booster shot: COVID and the flu. "What we're trying to do at Moderna actually is try 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 explained.
Bancel also added that he believes Moderna can make highly effective flu vaccines that surpass the normal flu vaccine's typical efficacy rate of 30 to 60 percent. "We believe we should be able to get a high efficacy flu vaccines combined in the same shot with the COVID variants—high efficacy so you can take one dose and then have a nice winter," he said. And for more up-to-date COVID news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Moderna's current vaccine is effective for at least six months after the second dose.
While booster shots are in the works, Moderna's current two-dose vaccination is still highly effective six months after your second dose. According to data released on April 13 from the company's phase three clinical trial, Moderna's vaccine is more than 90 percent effective at protecting against symptomatic COVID six months after you're fully vaccinated. The data also shows that the Moderna vaccine is more than 95 percent effective against severe COVID up to six months after the second dose. Out of nearly 132 million doses of the Moderna COVID vaccine delivered globally, researchers have only seen about 900 total cases of COVID—which includes 100 severe cases—from vaccinated participants in the trial through April 9. And for more on the likelihood of that, see why 65 Percent of Vaccinated People Who Get COVID Have This in Common, CDC Says.