The US government has already started planning for the possibility that people in the US might need booster shots of the COVID19 vaccine in the future for full protection. The Biden government has decided to purchase 200 million more doses of Moderna vaccine to fight against any new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The officials have said that these doses will be used as pediatric doses as well in the future. As per the latest report, the purchase of these doses will start this fall and will continue until next year. Health officials have claimed that the purchase of additional shots will help them to administer booster shots if they are required and to vaccinate children who are below 12 years if the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives a green signal to vaccination for this age group. Scientists are still uncertain when or whether booster shots might be required. The unfolding of various strains of the COVID19 virus has intensified the research on booster shots across the world. However, many experts have said that currently available vaccines are effective against many strains of the virus including the Alpha variant that has been found in the UK for the first time. This variant has become highly prevalent in the US as well. Health officials from the US have tagged the Delta variant as a variant of concern. It has been detected in India for the first time. The emergence of the Delta variant has raised alarms as it is said to be more contagious and can lead to more severe illness.
The emergence of the Delta variant in the UK has prompted the government to halt lifting restrictions that have been imposed during the COVID19 pandemic. Moderna, the pharmaceutical company has brought its first product to the market when they have developed the COVID19 vaccine that has been authorized for emergency use in the US last year. The company has used mRNA technology to develop the vaccine that is also known as the plug and play strategy. The plug-and-play strategy is particularly adjustable to reformulation. The company has shared early data of a clinical trial on a booster shot last month to fight against the Beta variant that has been detected in South Africa for the first time. Experts who have been involved in this trial have said that the booster shot has been able to prompt robust antibody response against the Beta variant including the Gamma strain that has been found in Brazil for the first time. Moderna has informed that the company will be delivering 110 million doses of new shot in the fourth quarter of this year. Around 90 million doses are expected to be delivered in the first quarter of next year. The new purchase will bring the total US procurement of Moderna’s two-dose shot to 550 million doses. The US government has used its existing contract with the company to buy additional doses of Moderna shots at the same price as before for future vaccination and booster shots. At present, the US government is paying around $16.50 per dose to the company. Health officials have said that similar talks are going on with Pfizer-BioNtech that also has developed mRNA technology-based COVID19 vaccine. However, no deal has been finalized yet with the companies.
Dr. Nirav Shah, who is the president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, has said that state health officials as well are considering the need for revaccination due to the emergence of new variants. However, he has said that it is too early to say how soon revaccination with booster shots will be needed. As per the latest federal data, around 65 percent of adults in the US have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine. Still, the rate of vaccination is slow in the US. Health officials are in talks with the government to vaccinate at least 70 percent of adults in the US with one dose of the vaccine by the first week of the next month. Health officials will also address the global vaccine shortage issue with the Biden government. President Joe Biden has declared during the meeting of the leaders of the group of 7 nations that the US is going to donate 500 million doses of Pfizer-BioNtech shot to low-income countries by the next year. The Biden administration has termed this move as a humanitarian obligation of the United States to save as many lives as possible. The officials from the White House as well have said that the country is planning to donate its surplus doses of Moderna vaccine to other countries.