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Moderna’s president said Monday that a fourth dose of its COVID-19 vaccine will likely not be necessary for the general public, but encouraged it for older people and the immunocompromised — and said that an extra booster will “provide a benefit to anyone who gets it.”
Stephen Hoge, who heads the vaccine-maker, told Business Insider that the company was “strongly” recommending and encouraging a fourth COVID shot for adults over the age of 50 or with compromised immune systems. But he hesitated to call a fourth dose “necessary.”
“For those who are immune-compromised, those who are older adults, over the age of 50 or at least 65, we want to strongly recommend and encourage [a fourth shot], the same way we do with flu vaccines,” Hoge told the publication. “Is it necessary? I think that’s a strong word. I think it will provide a benefit to anyone who gets it.”
Fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccines are already authorized for some people with compromised immune systems.
A day earlier, Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, had said a fourth dose of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine was “necessary” to prevent future coronavirus infections as the omicron variant continues to spread and after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data found that booster shots lose a great amount of their effectiveness after four months.
“The protection that you are getting from the third, it is good enough, actually quite good, for hospitalizations and deaths. It’s not that good against infections [and] doesn’t last very long,” Bourla said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “But we are just submitting those data to the FDA, and then we will see what the experts also will say outside Pfizer.”
The Pfizer CEO added that his company was working on a vaccine that would provide immunity for at least a year, likening it to an annual flu shot, and added that the world will have “to learn how to live with [COVID-19] … as we are living with many — so many other viruses.”
Moderna’s CEO, Hoge, told Business Insider that he personally planned to get a coronavirus booster every year, since he doesn’t want to lose his sense of smell and because “long COVID sounds nasty.”