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Moderna recommends third vaccine dose before winter starts

Credit: Belga

The Moderna pharmaceutical company is recommending a third dose of its coronavirus vaccine before winter starts, according to CEO Stephane Bancel.

Six months after the second shot, the effectiveness of the vaccine is still 93%, according to real-world results published by the company on Thursday.

“We are pleased that our Covid-19 vaccine is showing durable efficacy of 93% through six months, but recognise that the Delta variant is a significant new threat, so we must remain vigilant,” Bancel said in a statement.

Especially during the winter months, it is important to keep paying attention, as it will be colder and people will gather indoors, in closes spaces, a lot more. “That can cause breakthrough infections in vaccinated persons. Therefore, a booster shot is recommended before the winter season begins,” he added.

Phase 2 of the clinical trials – involving around 100 volunteers – is already promising, according to Bancel. “The third shot elicits a robust immune response, including against the delta variant.”

Additionally, the continued protection of 93% after six months is almost identical to the 94% reported by the company in its first clinical trials.

This is a higher rate of protection after six months than that of Pfizer/BioNTech (84%, compared with 96% after the second dose).

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) told The Brussels Times today that is has not yet issued recommendations on booster vaccinations for COVID-19 “given the current lack of evidence that boosters are currently required as a measure for the general population”.

The agency said that it will continue to follow the emerging scientific evidence closely, including on the duration of protective immunity that vaccines confer overall and for specific vulnerable groups, for the current variants of concern and any others that might emerge in the future.