HealthDay News — An additional 200 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will be obtained by the U.S. government in case there is a need for booster shots.
The deal includes an option to include any vaccines developed to fight coronavirus variants, as well as doses for children younger than age 12, The New York Times reported. Moderna’s vaccine is designed to be especially amenable to reformulations that would maintain effectiveness when new viral variants arise. Delivery is expected to begin this fall (110 million doses) and continue into early next year (another 90 million doses).
Negotiations are underway between the U.S. government and Pfizer-BioNTech, the maker of the other two-dose mRNA vaccine, for a similar deal on extra doses, The Times said.
It is not clear whether, or when, booster shots might be necessary. While research on boosters is underway, current vaccines are considered effective against several coronavirus variants, The Times reported.
“It may be just a bit too early to tell with finality whether second doses, booster doses” will be necessary in the fall, Nirav Shah, M.D., president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and Maine’s top health official, told reporters on Wednesday. “Certainly the better job we do now lowers the likelihood that variants could run loose.”