NEWS & ANALYSIS

CDC Hedging in Guidance on Vaccine Boosters


A working group for the CDC announced Wednesday that there is no evidence yet to suggest that COVID-19 vaccine boosters are necessary. 

Public health officials, however, will continue to monitor the virus as it changes and develops in order to determine if a booster vaccine will be needed in the future, NBC News reports. 

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an independent group of advisers to the CDC, agreed with the conclusion. 

This announcement comes after much anticipation surrounding the topic of booster vaccines. As most know by now, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both two doses, while the Johnson and Johnson is a single dose. However, discussion of a potential booster shot began circulating in recent weeks and months. 

“Prior to going around and giving everyone boosters, we need to improve the overall vaccination rate,” Dr. Keipp Talbot, an associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University and a member of the committee, said. 

Boosters could become necessary if there were a steady increase in positive cases among vaccinated individuals. 

Dr. Sharon Frey, clinical director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Saint Louis University Medical School said that it remains unclear what exactly those levels would be. 

“I think the only thing we can do at this moment is, if we start to see an uptick in reinfection in people, or new infections in people who have been vaccinated, that’s our clue that we need to move quickly,” she said. 

Both Pfizer and Moderna began trials studying whether a third dose would be needed within weeks of the first inoculation. Johnson & Johnson also said it’s studying whether a second dose would be necessary; results are expected this summer.