The chief executive officer of Moderna said he expects a second COVID-19 booster shot will be needed later this year as vaccine efficacy decreases.
While speaking at a Goldman Sachs-organized health care conference Thursday, Stephane Bancel said Moderna is focusing a booster on the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The second booster will likely not be available for at least two more months. “I still believe we’re going to need boosters in the fall of ’22 and forward,” Bancel said.
Discussing the strength of the booster shots, Bancel said “I will be surprised when we get that data in the coming weeks that it’s holding nicely over time”. “I would expect that it’s not going to hold great,” he added.
Bancel also said COVID is “not going away”. “We’re going to have to live with it”. In December, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla also said a fourth dose may eventually be needed.
On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced a new study showing that a fourth dose of the vaccine boosts antibodies five-fold.
The Hill reported that the Israeli government “is already offering a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose to health care workers and individuals 60 years old and older in an effort to bolster protection amid the omicron wave of the pandemic”.
During its third-quarter earnings results, Moderna announced that commercial booster market sales could reach $2 billion in the U.S. in 2022.
Moderna had shipped approximately 800 million COVID-19 vaccine doses globally last year, according to a company letter to shareholders.