Australian Medical Experts Say Three Booster Jabs Should Be Administered A Year

Analysing data on the effectiveness of the Pfizer and Moderna booster jabs provided by the U.K Health Security Agency (UKHSA), some Australian medical experts have said that three annual booster jabs will be needed for the foreseeable future. For example, Jaya Dantas, a Professor of International Health, declared that “it appears that there might be a need for regular boosters”. The Guardian has the story.

Australians may have to receive two or even three Covid jabs each year to maintain defences against the virus if early results on the efficacy of booster shots turn out to be a useful guide.

Weekly data published just before Christmas by the U.K.’s Health Security Agency shows the effectiveness of both the Pfizer and Moderna boosters against symptomatic diseases is lower for the Omicron than the Delta variant across all periods after the injection.

The analysis included 147,597 Delta and 68,489 Omicron cases in the U.K. The agency stressed the “results should be interpreted with caution due to the low counts and the possible biases related to the populations with highest exposure to Omicron (including travellers and their close contacts) which cannot fully be accounted for”.

The U.K. data showed both Pfizer and Moderna boosters had 90% effectiveness against symptomatic diseases from the Delta variant up to at least nine weeks.

By contrast, efficacy against the Omicron strain was about 30% lower, and appeared to drop away further after nine weeks.

Israel has already begun administering a second booster dose to follow the original three-dose treatment, and at least one U.S. medical centre is considering recommending staff have a second booster.

Medical experts in Australia said results beyond the 12-week dataset would be needed to get a longer term picture.

Jaya Dantas, a Professor of International Health at Curtin University, said it was still early days for the understanding of the efficacy of the vaccinations but “it appears that there might be a need for regular boosters”.

“You might need boosters, say maybe two a year or three a year,” Dantas said, with elderly people more likely to be in line for a triple annual dose…

Michael Lydeamore, an infectious disease modeller at Monash University, said it was reassuring from the U.K. study that “no matter what your initial first two vaccine doses were – so either AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna – you get basically the same protection” from the Pfizer or Moderna booster.

“That’s really important, because we know the AstraZeneca protection is a bit lower to start with than Pfizer,” Lydeamore said “But both go up to about the same level after a booster, so that’s really good.”

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