The big question most Americans have is whether a booster shot will be needed to protect against the emerging COVID-19 variants, especially the aggressive Delta variant that is sweeping the nation. As new cases of COVID-19 rose almost 50% this week across the country, many people are wondering if a third shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines will be needed to ensure immunity.
According to USA TODAY, Israel is offering a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine after data showed declining efficacy of the shot. France is encouraging transplant recipients, dialysis patients and other immunocompromised citizens to get their booster shot. The U.S. government has said that, for now, a third shot is not needed. Since more than 99% of people hospitalized for COVID-19 are unvaccinated, it appears that the vaccines are doing their job by preventing severe illness from the virus.
All three vaccines—Pfizer, Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson one-dose drug—are effective against the Delta variant which experts say is more dangerous and transmissible. Studies have shown that two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna shots are required to achieve immunity. The J & J vaccine, which uses different technology, is effective after one dose, according to USA TODAY. However, experts say that is unknown how long this protection lasts.
The big challenge is that while nearly 80% of people over the age of 65 are immunized, younger adults are not, and they are now at risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. As the Delta variant sweeps through this population, the U.S. may see a surge among this group and in children who have also not been vaccinated.
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