In the last couple of weeks, the number of new Covid-19 is constantly declining after America set new record high numbers during the winter Omicron peak. As the numbers continue their declining trend, less people are getting vaccinated something that might come at a cost with any future variants.
According to the New York Times Covid-19 tracker, on Sunday, March 13, the country added a total of 6,382 new cases bringing the 14-day average daily cases to 34,232 which is 48% less compared to the previous 14-day period.
America currently has one of the best vaccination rates against Covid-19 globally, but Americans are less and less interested in getting the shot as the numbers are declining lately. CDC data shows that more than 254 million people are vaccinated with one dose of the vaccines, fully vaccinated are more than 216 million and booster doses have received nearly 96 million people which is 44.3% of the booster eligible.
In the last two months, dozens of experts said they expect Covid-19 vaccination to remain a seasonal process especially for the immunocompromised people. According to the CDC guidelines, some of the immunocompromised are now eligible to get fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccines to further improve their immunity against the deadly virus.
Omicron was the first variant that easily evades both vaccine and natural immunity showing everyone that we are still far away from the end of the pandemic. The antibody treatments and recently approved Covid-19 pills might help in reducing the number of hospitalized patients in future waves, but experts believe that vaccination will remain the best option in fighting the virus in the future.
One of them is the Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla who thinks that fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccines will be approved soon by the CDC for everyone including young people and teenagers. In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Bourla explained what he thinks about the fourth dose, the pandemic and the expected shot for children aged up to five years.
“Many variants are coming, and Omicron was the first one that was able to evade — in a skillful way — the immune protection that we’re giving,” Bourla told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “The protection we are getting from the third (dose) it is good enough — actually quite good for hospitalizations and deaths,” Bourla said.
According to Bourla, fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccines will be needed because the immunity of the current Covid-19 vaccines doesn’t last very long and the protection of three doses is not that good against infections like the Omicron. “It is necessary, a fourth (dose) for right now,” Bourla told CBS.
Currently, anyone ages 12 and up who got a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least five months ago can get a third dose. Anyone ages 18 and up who got the two-dose Moderna vaccine should get a booster shot six months after the second dose, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And anyone who got the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster shot after two months, the CDC said.
While some immunocompromised folks are already eligible to get a fourth dose of the vaccines, it remains unclear if or when the FDA will approve another dose for healthy people. Meanwhile, Bourla added the company is presenting their data to the FDA.
The only group of people that is still unprotected against Covid-19 are children under five. Few months ago, Pfizer submitted their clinical testing data to the FDA, but the vaccine for this age group is still not approved. However, Bourla believes Covid-19 vaccine for children aged from six months to five years to be approved in the spring months.