Pfizer wants to give you a booster shot, but experts say it’s too soon


About half a dozen other countries are considering this idea. If these countries also start offering booster vaccines, “it will require 800 million doses of vaccines,” WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said at a news conference on Monday.

These doses should go to countries with little access to vaccines, said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He denounced rich and middle-income countries for considering third doses as front-line workers and older adults in poor countries had not yet received their first dose. Some countries have not yet launched mass vaccination campaigns. “Currently, data show us that the vaccine provides long-lasting immunity against the severe and deadly Covid-19,” he said. “The priority now should be to vaccinate those who have received no doses and protection.”

Craig Spencer, director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, puts this more clearly. “Whatever pharmaceutical companies tell you, you don’t need a Covid-19 booster more urgently than any healthcare worker in the world, they don’t have access to a vaccine yet,” he said.

That doesn’t mean we won’t eventually need boosters. “After a year or two you may need boosters,” said WHO’s Swaminathan. Wherry notes that it is good to be prepared. However, he did not see any data to convince him that boosters are now warranted. “The emerging data says immunity is strong,” he says.


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