Receive our newsletter – data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Comment
August 20, 2021

Third Covid-19 vaccine doses will boost variant protection but increase inequality

A third booster dose of certain Covid-19 vaccines could offer increased protection from emerging variants.

By GlobalData Healthcare

In a joint statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FDA, and National Institutes of Health (NIH), the US Government agencies announced a plan to recommend Covid-19 booster vaccine doses for all residents eight months after full vaccination with either Pfizer/BioNTech or Pfizer vaccines, beginning in mid-September. This is a switch from the previous guidance of the agencies to not recommend booster shots in the near future, but the highly transmissible delta variant and rising Covid-19 case numbers in the US led to the change in strategy to combat Covid-19 domestically.

Initial data from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Novavax showed that a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, given six to eight months after the second dose, can significantly boost the protection against the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 strain, and potentially also against virus variants. Thus, the guidance to recommend a third vaccine dose (or second dose in the case of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, when a booster is advised for it) is an important decision. Furthermore, a third dose could also broaden the protection and potentially create immunity against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. However, this decision will further increase the gap in protection against the novel coronavirus and its variants between high and low-income countries. Globally, less than 25% of people have been fully vaccinated, while only 85 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in all of Africa.

Also, countries such as Germany, France, the UK, and Israel are planning to recommend a third dose for immunocompromised people before the colder season in the Northern Hemisphere begins. A strategy that could prioritize high-risk people in highly vaccinated countries, while making sure enough vaccine doses reach regions in which only a small percentage of the population is fully vaccinated, might be a compromise to prevent the gap in protection from broadening further. Eventually, once Covid-19 vaccine supply is a non-issue, a third dose, like for other vaccines, especially childhood vaccines, will be a good strategy to create long-term protection against SARS-CoV-2.

Additionally, should variants emerge that escape the immune response of people who have received three doses of the vaccine, variant-specific boosters that are currently in development will again be needed, especially for those at high risk, like the elderly, particularly in long-term care facilities, the immunocompromised, and healthcare workers. These will be the groups most affected by new SARS-CoV-2 variants, which will continue to emerge until most of the world’s population is vaccinated.

Related Companies

Related Report
NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly roundup of the latest news and analysis, sent every Friday. The pharmaceutical industry's most comprehensive news and information delivered every month.
I consent to GlobalData UK Limited collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
SUBSCRIBED

THANK YOU