Local experts weigh in on Pfizer's request for third dose | KAALTV.com

Local experts weigh in on Pfizer's request for third dose

Emily Pofahl
Updated: July 09, 2021 08:48 PM
Created: July 09, 2021 06:31 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Pfizer just asked the FDA for emergency use authorization to provide a third dose of its vaccine. Does this mean we'll all need another shot to be safe?

Our local health experts say it's too early to tell, and Pfizer's move may just be precautionary.

"This delta variant is evolving in a way that allows it to evade some aspects of the immune system," Graham Briggs, the director of Olmsted County Public Health, said.

Scientists in the United States and France studied the delta variant and released their findings. They claim a single dose of one of the MRNA vaccines - that is Pfizer, Moderna, or Astra Zeneca - is barely effective against the new variant. 

But both doses will keep you safer. This is also true for most other strains of Covid-19. 

"It isn't surprising at all that with increasing mutation, that we would see differences in performance of the vaccine," Dr. Greg Poland, the director of vaccine research at Mayo Clinic, said. 

These new strains are a concern for people who aren't fully vaccinated.

"People who got infected last year, will be at risk with these variants. People who got one dose will be at risk from these variants," Poland said. 

But so far there are no signs of significantly less immunity for those who are - even with the delta variant. So why is Pfizer asking the FDA to approve a third dose? 

Well, some local experts say that Pfizer could be tracking information that the FDA and CDC don't have yet. 

In a joint statement responding to Pfizer, the FDA and CDC say that Americans who have been fully vaccinated don't need a booster shot at this time, but they are prepared for booster doses if and when the science says they're needed. Pfizer could also just be starting the approval process early as a precaution. 

"They're being wise in my opinion in getting ready. That does not mean that any data says we should do that yet," Poland said. 

The vaccines are about 80 percent effective against the delta variant, and in Olmsted County over 100,000 people are vaccinated. So experts say that our area is in pretty good shape heading into the fall.

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