If You Got Moderna, Dr. Fauci Warns Against Doing This
The White House adviser just spoke directly to recipients of this vaccine.
Health experts have been weighing the risks and benefits of offering booster doses over the last few months, leading up to a recent decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to authorize a third shot of Pfizer to groups of people at high risk for severe COVID. This decision has resulted in hundreds of thousands of adults across the U.S. scheduling booster dose appointments for the coming weeks. But while some recipients of the other vaccines may be considering signing up for an additional dose despite not yet being authorized to do so, there is a reason you should wait—especially if you got the Moderna vaccine, White House Chief COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, recently warned.
During a Sept. 29 interview on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, Fauci explicitly advised Moderna recipients to wait until the FDA approves a booster shot for this vaccine. "We do recommend for people who have gotten, originally, the Moderna, to wait," the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director said.
According to Fauci, the FDA's decision on Moderna's booster and determination about its safety and efficacy will likely come "relatively soon," as the vaccine manufacturer just completed its submission for booster authorization at the beginning of September. Until then, those who got their first two doses with Moderna should be patient, especially since research still shows high effectiveness from this vaccine.
"They should know that for the most part, they are still really quite protected," Fauci said of Moderna recipients. According to a Sept. 17 study from the CDC, Moderna was still 95 percent effective against COVID hospitalization amid the Delta variant surge from June to August, while Pfizer's vaccine had been reduced to an 80 percent effectiveness during the same timeframe.
Fauci added, "We're talking about boosters to go for the durability of the response so that it will last over a long period of time. Wait until the FDA comes out with the determination and follow the ultimate recommendation of the CDC."
Some experts have expressed caution about Moderna recipients going out and receiving third shots ahead of authorization, because the FDA may approve a smaller dose of the vaccine for the booster. According to Fauci, Moderna has tested additional shots of both 100 micrograms of mRNA, which is how much the first two shots had, and 50 micrograms, or half the original dose.
Fauci said that it is up to the FDA to determine which dosage amount is more suitable for the booster shot. "When they come out with their authorization for the appropriate dose, that's the dose that should be followed," he said.
But Fauci also acknowledged that he doesn't foresee any safety complications arising for people who received a third shot of the 100 microgram dose, if they've done so already. "We don't anticipate that the people who have gone ahead and done it on their own, that since they got the full dose of Moderna, that there's any reason to believe there's any issue of safety with that," he noted.