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Local researchers: COVID vaccine booster isn’t necessary yet

A clinical pharmacist with Seattle Indian Health Board administers a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images).

Pfizer says it will ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 booster in the next few weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA responded by saying booster shots are not necessary for those who are fully vaccinated.

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KIRO 7 TV asked UW Medicine researcher Dr. Jesse Erasmus his thoughts on a COVID booster. Dr. Erasmus is working on a next-generation COVID vaccine.

“I think the data currently suggests a booster is not necessary,” Dr. Erasmus said. “All of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are demonstrating very good efficacy against all of the variants, even the Delta variant, in protecting against severe disease and hospitalization.”

While Pfizer announced plans to file for emergency use authorization for a COVID vaccine booster, the FDA and CDC say those who are fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time. They say that virtually all COVID hospitalizations and deaths are among those who are unvaccinated.

“As long as you’ve been vaccinated and have received the full recommended number of doses, there’s nothing to worry about at this point,” Erasmus said.

There is discussion that people who got the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine could highly increase their protection by getting a second dose of an mRNA vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna.

“Where you prime with a Johnson and Johnson, an adenovirus-based vaccine, then you boost with an mRNA. You get really good post-boost responses,” Dr. Erasmus explained.

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The FDA and CDC said it won’t be up to a company to decide when it’s time for a booster. The FDA, CDC, and National Institutes of Health are engaged in a science-based, rigorous process to decide whether or when a booster is necessary.

By Alison Grande, KIRO 7 News

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