Scientists have found clues that the world’s leading COVID-19 vaccines offer lasting protection that could diminish the need for frequent booster shots, but they caution that more research is needed and that virus mutations are still a wild card.
Critical studies are underway, and evidence is mounting that immunity from the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna does not depend exclusively on antibodies that dwindle over time. The body has overlapping layers of protection that offer backup.
Pfizer and Moderna have fueled booster questions by estimating that people might need yearly shots, just like with flu vaccinations, and the companies are working to have some candidates ready this fall. But companies will not decide when boosters get used. That will be up to health authorities in each country.
Other experts say boosters may be needed only every few years.
In other developments:
- Dangling everything from sports tickets to a free beer, President Joe Biden is looking for that extra something — anything — that will get people to roll up their sleeves for COVID-19 shots when the promise of a life-saving vaccine by itself hasn’t been enough.
- Three-quarters of Britain's adult population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, but the government is warning that “deadly” misinformation is undermining the global inoculation effort.
- Ohio is ready to announce the next winners of its vaccine lottery incentive, including an adult who will take home $1 million and a child who will receive a full college scholarship. The announcement comes at 7:29 p.m. Wednesday evening.
- Federal authorities say a ring of Venezuelans living in South Florida and Mexico stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in U.S. government stimulus checks from people who were struggling financially during the the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Japan’s prime minister has announced an additional $800 million contribution to the U.N.-backed initiative to provide COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries, a four-fold increase of Japanese funding for the COVAX program.