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Medical pros debate if too much COVID vaccine does more harm than good

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Moderna and Pfizer are both requesting emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a fourth dose of their vaccine series. 

But too many injections to fight a virus can cause what’s called antibody-dependent enhancement, or ADE. This is when a person’s immune system makes too many antibodies that worsen an infection instead of neutralizing it. 

News 8 spoke with Christopher Doehring, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health, who explains if COVID vaccine-induced dependency could develop if fourth shots are approved. 

“That’s sort of the public health debate,” he said. “How severe are the communicable diseases and how important is it to protect the population broadly against the virus with vaccination versus how much do you let it just run its natural course.”

In terms of COVID, he says, we aren’t at vaccine dependency just yet. But we could be headed there if scientists don’t find the right dosage — and soon. 

Doehring adds the most important thing for now is to prevent the spread before we’re successful in making the coronavirus shot an annual vaccine. But until then, the additional shots will continue to be recommended until we reach the magic dose.