World

Is it our future ‘forever push’? And will that defeat the coronavirus?


A year ago, just two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine – or even one, in the case of Johnson & Johnson – were thought to provide sufficient protection against the coronavirus.

Now, faced with the extremely contagious variant of Omicron, Israel has begun providing a fourth dose to several high-risk groups. On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded the use of the vaccine to minors and avoided describing anyone as “fully vaccinated” because the two shots appeared to be not enough anymore.

Instead, a person’s immunization status will now be “up to date” – or not. No wonder many Americans are wondering: Where will this end? Should we roll up our sleeves for a booster shot every few months?

Under constant attack by a virus that defies expectations, scientists do not want to predict the future. But in interviews this week, nearly a dozen people said that whatever happens, it’s unrealistic to try to boost the entire population every few months. It also doesn’t make much scientific sense.

“It’s not impossible to get vaccinated periodically, but I think there are better ways than getting vaccinated every six months,” said Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University. Other strategies, she says, can “get us out of this kind of forever motivating situation.”

For starters, convincing people to line up for a shoot every few months is probably a failed proposition. Equally important, there are no data to support the efficacy of a fourth dose in current vaccines.

Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have all said that they are testing a vaccine targeting Omicron, which is likely to be made available in the next few months.

Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at Washington University in St. “If you’re going to add another dose after three, I would definitely wait for an Omicron-based dose.”



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