Pfizer and BioNTech have announced that they are developing a COVID-19 booster shot intended to target the highly transmissible Delta variant. The two companies said they would seek authorization for a third dose of their COVID-19 vaccine to boost its efficacy.
They said they believe a third shot of their current two-dose vaccine has the potential to preserve the "highest levels" of protection against all currently known variants, including Delta, but they are "remaining vigilant" and developing an updated version of the vaccine. "These findings are consistent with an ongoing analysis from the companies' Phase 3 study," the two companies said in a statement issued on Thursday. "That is why we have said, and we continue to believe that it is likely, based on the totality of the data we have to date, that a third dose may be needed within six to 12 months after full vaccination."
Meanwhile, US top federal agencies said Americans don't need booster shots yet and said it was not up to companies alone to decide when they might be needed.
The joint statement issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), said Americans do not need booster shots yet. "Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time," they said.
The US government officials have stressed that fully vaccinated people have a low risk of infection, even from the Delta variant, which is more transmissible than earlier lineages of the virus.