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Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine protection wanes, makes case for booster

Stock MarketsSep 16, 2021 11:12AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - New data from Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) Inc's large COVID-19 vaccine trial shows that the protection it offers wanes over time, supporting the case for booster doses, the company said in a news release on Wednesday.

"This is only one estimate, but we do believe this means as you look toward the fall and winter, at minimum we expect the estimated impact of waning immunity would be 600,000 additional cases of COVID-19," Moderna President Stephen Hoge said on a conference call with investors.

Hoge did not project how many of the cases would be severe, but said some would require hospitalization.

The data stands in stark contrast with data from several recent studies that suggested Moderna's vaccine protection lasts longer than a similar shot from Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) and German partner BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTX).

Experts said the difference is likely due to Moderna's higher dose of messenger RNA (mRNA) and the slightly longer interval between the first and second shots.

Both vaccines proved to be exceedingly effective at preventing illness in their large Phase III studies.

Wednesday's analysis, however, showed higher rates of infection among people vaccinated roughly 13 months ago compared with those vaccinated roughly eight months ago. The study period was from July-August, when Delta was the predominant strain. It has yet to undergo peer review.

Moderna on Sept. 1 submitted its application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking authorization for a booster shot.

Hoge said data from its booster studies shows the vaccine could increase neutralizing antibodies to levels even higher than were seen after the second dose.

"We believe this will reduce COVID-19 cases," he said. "We also believe that a third dose of mRNA-1273 has a chance of significantly extending immunity throughout much of next year as we attempt to end the pandemic."

Briefing documents from the FDA's analysis of Pfizer's booster application, released earlier on Wednesday, suggest that a key issue the agency will consider is whether vaccine protection is waning https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/pfizer-says-third-covid-19-shot-warranted-fda-document-2021-09-15.

In its analysis, Moderna compared the vaccine's performance in more than 14,000 volunteers vaccinated between July and October of 2020 with some 11,000 volunteers originally in the placebo group who were offered the shot between December 2020 and March 2021 following its U.S. emergency use authorization.

In the two-month period from July-August, researchers identified 88 COVID-19 cases among those who got the two shots more recently, compared with 162 cases among those vaccinated last year. Overall, only 19 cases were considered severe, a key benchmark in assessing waning protection.

Moderna said there was a trend toward a lower rate of severe cases among the more recently vaccinated, although the finding was not statistically significant.

Data from a separate study presented on Wednesday conducted with Kaiser Permanente Southern California health system, meanwhile, shows that Moderna's vaccine continued to perform well against the Delta variant.

Researchers compared data on more than 352,000 people who got two doses of the Moderna vaccine with the same number of unvaccinated individuals and found the Moderna vaccine was 87% effective at preventing a COVID-19 diagnosis, and 96% effective at preventing hospitalization.

Hoge said the vaccine's initial performance is strong, but argued that protection shouldn't be allowed to wane.

"The first six months are great, but you can't count on that being stable out to a year and beyond," he said. (This story corrects year to 2021 from 2022 in 12th paragraph)

Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine protection wanes, makes case for booster
 

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Comments (25)
Mark Stallone
Mark Stallone Sep 16, 2021 12:20PM ET
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We should make people who haven't been vaccinated identify themselves. Maybe an armband. They should also have to sit in special designated places at sporting/entertaining events. They should also have to use separate water fountains and bathrooms. They should also have to sit in the back of the bus. oh wait...
Mike Mike
Mike Mike Sep 16, 2021 1:57AM ET
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Wow, look at the number of funk ups here. Remember not to get that vaccine. Once all unvaccinated adults die, we'll have heard immunity.
Mike Mike
Mike Mike Sep 16, 2021 1:57AM ET
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pls "go" at home. don't take up icu bed
John Doe
ForexInsiders Sep 15, 2021 9:24PM ET
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Keep eating it up sheep
Josh Davis
Josh Davis Sep 15, 2021 9:24PM ET
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Its funny because pnce you take one you cant stop. Thats not how immunity works lol. They want boosters aplroved to kwep the cash cow running. Friends aunt died yesterday fully vaccinated. It has everything to do with co morbidities and not vaccinated or not. I bet everyone think measles was eradicated with the vaccine as well? Lol it was 99.6% gone when the vaccine was invented…youve all been lied to
John William Nicholson
John William Nicholson Sep 15, 2021 9:24PM ET
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Hello, Josh Davis.
Phil Ht
Phil Ht Sep 15, 2021 9:21PM ET
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They also make money from the remedies used to counter side effects from the vaccine like heart inflammation.
Ron Moorman
Ron Moorman Sep 15, 2021 9:19PM ET
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It makes one wonder if Moderna intentionally developed a vaccine they knew would soon require a booster.
Darren Hunt
Darren Hunt Sep 15, 2021 9:05PM ET
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wow moderna saying you'll need more of their vaccine. wow didn't see that coming .
Sabi Sab
SabiSab Sep 15, 2021 8:58PM ET
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Protection wanes overtime and you monsters called it a vaccine!  What a scam it is!
pcg upstate
pcg upstate Sep 15, 2021 8:10PM ET
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they do and say anything for money
Stephen Fa
Stephen Fa Sep 15, 2021 6:42PM ET
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DNA altering subscription plan
Brandon Wooton
Brandon Wooton Sep 15, 2021 6:25PM ET
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all for a virus 99.9% of humanity was destined to survive.
 
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