When Will We Be In Need Of A Second COVID-19 Booster?

As we approached the end of 2021, over 200 million people in the U.S. had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (via CNET). With nearly 100 million people having already received their first booster shot, the need for a second booster shot is already being explored.

Considering COVID-19 vaccine immunity wanes in individuals over time, the focus of the initial booster shot was to "raise their immunity levels," according to NBC News. With a second booster dose, experts say the focus would now be "to combat waning immunity." In October 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorized the administering of a fourth mRNA vaccine dose six months after their third dose for individuals "moderately or severely" immunocompromised over the age of 18, according to CNET. Such qualifying individuals include those receiving treatment for tumors or cancer in the blood, those having received a stem cell transplant within the previous two years, as well as organ transplant patients using medications that suppress the immune system.

Whether or not a second COVID-19 booster shot will be recommended for the general public is yet to be determined as health officials continue to process data on the efficacy of the first COVID-19 booster shot (via CNET). However, some experts believe a fourth dose of the vaccine may inevitably be needed sooner than initially expected. Now, Pfizer representatives have an idea as to when that dose may be needed.

Pfizer anticipates a need for second booster shots early this year

Executives at Pfizer have estimated the timeline for the need of a second COVID-19 booster shot to be as early as March (via CNET). In an interview with CBS News, Pfizer's chief scientific officer Mikael Dolsten, said, "I think it is very likely that we will need a fourth booster, possibly already this spring, particularly if omicron continues to dominate" (via CNET).

Although a second booster shot has not yet been authorized for the general public, some individuals have already gone about pursuing second and third unauthorized COVID-19 booster shots — an act that medical experts feel could pose some potential risks (via The New York Times). While awaiting word about a second COVID-19 booster shot, guidance from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should be followed regarding the administering of additional vaccine doses.