Americans might start getting a third booster shoot for Moderna vaccines this year

  • The US could start giving out COVID-19 vaccine booster shots by the end of this year, Moderna said.
  • Booster shots protect against variant strains of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
  • The spread of variants and slow vaccine rollout has led to a rise in cases globally.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

COVID-19 vaccine shots aren’t stopping anytime soon.

Moderna announced Americans could start getting booster shots to protect against variant strains later this year.

“It is likely that the countries that have already achieved high vaccine coverage are going to be ready to shift their focus to boosters in 2022, and possibly even starting at the end of this year,” Corinne M. Le Goff, Moderna chief commercial officer, said during a call with investors on Wednesday.

Le Goff said countries like the US that have succeeded in quickly inoculating their populations will start getting booster shots as soon as possible. But because just 5% of the global population has been vaccinated so far, most countries will continue giving residents the initial shots.

Read more: GlaxoSmithKline stumbled with COVID-19 shots. Now it’s facing an exodus of US talent and an uncertain future as the world’s vaccine leader.

The US has administered more than 85 million Moderna COVID-19 vaccines as of mid-April. Nearly half of American adults have received at least one shot of the Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine so far, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Though the vaccines the authorized for emergency use in many countries are highly effective, delays with the rollout and the growth of variants have led to an increase in COVID-19 cases globally. Many European countries have enforced shutdowns and curfews as the “third wave” of the pandemic began and as COVID-19 cases reached record highs in India and Brazil this spring.

Epidemiologist have predicted COVID-19 will become an endemic, or an ongoing disease or virus, that will likely continue spreading as a mild, flu-like illness after the pandemic subsides. Researchers may produce booster shots to fight against new variants of COVID-19 on a regular basis, similar to how they develop vaccines for the flu on a seasonal basis.

“I hope this summer to get the vaccine authorized for a boost so that we can help people getting boosted before the fall so that we all have a normal fall and not a fall and winter like we just saw in the last six months,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in an interview with Insider on Tuesday.

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