(Washington) A recall campaign for Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines will begin in the US in late September, health officials said Wednesday, concerned about the decline in immune protection over time and given the Delta variant.
Posted on Aug 18, 2021 at 10:38 am Updated at 2:53 pm
Lucie AUBOURG Agence France-Presse
Adults who have received one of these serums can request a third injection eight months after the second, starting from the week of September 20th.
“This is the best way to protect us from new varieties that may hit the market,” said Joe Biden during the remarks.
“We can take care of Americans and help the world at the same time,” he defended in light of criticism pointing to the huge gap between poor countries that lack vaccines and rich people who can afford the third dose.
However, this recall remains on hold until the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves an additional dose.
“The available data clearly show that protection against infection with SARS-CoV-2 decreases over time after the first vaccination doses,” explains a statement by high-ranking health officials.
In addition, “the effectiveness of the vaccine is generally reduced against the Delta variant”, at the origin of the current surge in the country’s epidemic, added Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
“We are concerned that this observed decline will continue in the coming months, which could lead to a reduction in protection from serious illnesses, hospital admissions and deaths,” said Murthy State Chief Medical Officer.
The effectiveness of vaccines against hospital admissions and deaths in the United States remains “relatively high” for the time being, Ms. Walensky reassured, however, supporting studies.
Another measure that is intended to strengthen vaccination in the country: the employees of around 15,000 old people’s homes that participate in the public Medicare and Medicaid programs (for the poorest) must be vaccinated or their funding will be suspended, the house announced.
Older people first
The first people to benefit from a third dose will be the “retirement homes,” the “elders,” and “many health professionals” who were the first to be vaccinated in the United States.
The first injections of messenger RNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) took place in the country in December 2020.
A booster dose will also be “likely necessary” for those who received a single injection of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a minority in the United States, health officials say. But vaccinations with this serum would not have started until “March 2021” and data on this would be expected “in the coming weeks”.
The FDA will also determine the fate of an additional dose for children and adolescents vaccinated with the Pfizer compound in May at the age of 12.
The Pfizer / BioNTech alliance announced Monday that it had provided the FDA with initial data demonstrating the benefits of a third dose and specified that more complete results would be presented “quickly”.
Moderna is also testing several versions of a booster dose with initial positive results.
“With a third dose, you get a dramatic spike in antibody levels,” White House pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci said Wednesday, “at least by ten.”
Since last week, some immunocompromised people in the country have been able to get a third dose.
Nearly 200 million people in the United States have had at least one injection, about 60% of the population.
Washington originally ordered 300 million doses of the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, but recently another 200 million were bought by the two companies – enough to carry out that recall.
Several countries have already launched product recalls against parts of their populations, including Israel for people over 50.
This is in spite of calls from the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone these operations in order to address the gaping inequalities in vaccines between countries.
“Over the next few months, fall and early winter,” approximately 100 million booster doses are expected to be injected into the United States, while “more than 200 million” doses will be injected into other countries, defends Joe Biden.
The first of 500 million doses of Pfizer vaccine Washington promised to poor countries was shipped this week.