With Omicron variant BA.2 surge again, should we need 4th COVID-19 booster?
Even though most scientists eagerly await more data to come in, some countries are moving forward with recommending a fourth vaccine booster shot for specific groups of vulnerable people. In the U.S., the CDC has recommended that all adults who are moderately or severely immunocompromised receive the fourth dose.
The highly-contagious Omicron variant has spread fast and furious throughout the world, and public health officials in the U.S. and Europe have recommended booster shots for all adults. Data from the CDC shows that third shots can be as much as 90% effective at preventing hospitalization from Omicron, especially in older adults. But immunity granted from boosters may wane as early as four months after taking the third shot, according to a recent CDC study. To guard against this and future variants, people will need a fourth dose of vaccine possibly, especially for senior citizens. In older populations where immunity maybe didn’t reach the same high levels as in younger, healthier populations, fourth doses may be required sooner.
But it’s important to keep in mind that youth does not necessarily translate to less severe forms of the disease, and depending on how COVID is circulating, booster shots may still be necessary for younger and otherwise healthy people.
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech asked U.S. regulators to authorize an additional booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccine for seniors.