INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Both Moderna and Pfizer are seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for booster shots six months after full vaccination.
Studies published by both pharmaceutical giants show protection from the vaccine weakens at the six-month time frame, but these studies are based on the decline in antibodies. However, antibodies only tell half the story.
According to a study by researchers at La Jolla University Institute for Immunology, boosters may not be necessary. In fact, added injections could disrupt the path to protection from COVID-19 by not allowing the body to recruit different immune cell that can attack the virus.
Researchers gave participants 25 micrograms of the Moderna vaccine spaced 28 days apart, which is a fraction of the 100 micrograms given under emergency use by the FDA.
The researchers found immunity remained strong with the lower dose and allowed for what are called cross-reactive T-cells to join the fight.
“If you have these cross-reactive T-cells, your immune system might kick in faster against the virus,” study author Dr. Alessandro Sette said in a statement. “And multiple studies have shown how quickly the immune system reacts is key.”
The study hints at the possibility that only a fraction of the mRNA vaccine dose is necessary. This will then stretch the supply and allow distribution of Moderna across the globe to countries with either limited supply or lacking access.