UW Medicine conducting COVID-19 vaccine booster trial

SEATTLE, Wash. — The University of Washington’s Medicine Virology Research Clinic is one of 12 National Institute of Health sponsored sites chosen to test the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses.

The trial will administer a single booster shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to those who previously received both doses of Pfizer, Moderna or the single dose of Johnson & Johnson.

Participants will be routinely monitored for about a year after receiving the booster.

“We just want to be ready for whatever this virus throws at us,” says Dr. Christine Johnston, principal investigator and an associate professor of medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

“We want to have the evidence about whether boosters are effective or not,” says Johnston. “Right now, I think we still need a lot more data to understand when to get boosters, how to get them, how to phase them, the timing. And so that is exactly what this trial is trying to address.”

Participants must have completed one of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines at least 12 weeks prior to joining the study or be willing to receive the two-shot Moderna vaccine.

The jury is still out if booster shots are needed.

Pfizer has recently been at odds with both the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration over the matter.

The CDC and FDA recently released a joint statement saying Americans do not need booster shots yet.

However, Pfizer pointed out it is seeing waning immunity with its vaccine, particularly against emerging variants like the B.1.617.2 variant, also known as the Delta variant.

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Pfizer reported the efficacy of its vaccine dropped from 90% to 64% as the Delta variant spreads around the world.

The company said it planned to seek emergency authorization for its booster in August.