Moderna backs booster doses after warning Covid vaccine protection can wane

Studies have suggested the Moderna vaccine could keep its efficiency longer than the Pfizer jab, but its protection wanes over time

Moderna vaccine makers have backed booster doses after revealing protection from their Covid-19 jab decreases over time.

The manufacturer released new data in a report on Wednesday (15 September) which compared infection rates among people vaccinated around 13 months ago, compared to those who vaccinated eight months ago.

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What did the report find?

Moderna compared the vaccine performance among 14,000 volunteers against 11,000 volunteers originally in the placebo group.

In the 14,000 who were vaccinated between July and October 2020, 162 positive Covid cases were identified.

Among those 11,000 in the original placebo group, who were eventually given the jab between December 2020 and March 2022, only 88 Covid cases were positive, 19 of which were severe.

This study is still under peer review.

Other studies have suggested the Moderna vaccine could keep its efficiency over time for longer than Pfizer jab.

Experts believe this difference could be due to Moderna's higher dose and a shorter waiting time between the first and second jab.

Research has also found that among 352,000 people who received two doses of the Moderna vaccine, the jab was 87% effective at preventing a Covid-19 diagnosis and 96% effective in preventing hospitalisation.

However, Moderna says its most recent study points to decreasing immunity, suggesting a booster jab is needed.

Boosters to be rolled out for over 50s

The findings from the report come after the government announced plans to roll out booster jabs in England amid warnings of a "rough winter" of seasonal viruses.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) set out plans for boosters for more than 30 million British adults on Tuesday (14 September), with over 50s and vulnerable people to be eligible.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs the rollout will begin across England next week.

The JCVI expressed a preference for people to be given the Pfizer vaccine as a third dose, regardless of which jab they were initially given.

However, the committee said that half doses of the Moderna jab could be used as an alternative.

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