Local researchers: COVID booster isn’t necessary yet

Pfizer says it will ask the FDA for emergency use authorization for a COVID booster in the next few weeks.

The CDC and FDA responded by saying booster shots are not necessary for those who are fully vaccinated.

KIRO-7 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,” said Dr. Erasmus. " 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,” said Dr. Erasmus.

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,” explained. Dr. Erasmus.

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.