Moderna Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Offers Protection for 6 Months; CEO Says It Would Last For Years

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine’s powerful protection will not wane for the first six months, the company said in a statement, while Moderna’s CEO said their new vaccine may prevent infection for years, except when facing the new Delta variant, which he believes to be a “significant new threat” that everyone needs to be vigilant about as more data is still needed to make a definitive assessment.

Photo credits to World Economic Forum. Taken from Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

While speaking at the virtual event by financial service group Oddo BHF, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel claimed that with the company’s new COVID vaccine, “there will be protection potentially for a couple of years,” the New York Times reported.

His claims stemmed from the slow antibody decay generated by the vaccine in humans.  

In another report, a statement released by Moderna executives said that the durable efficacy of the vaccine is good for the first six months. They also believe that the booster shots will be necessary to fight against the highly contagious Delta variant, which is now becoming more rampant in the U.S. 

Moderna’s president Dr. Stephen Hoge said, “We believe a dose three of a booster will likely be necessary to keep us as safe as possible through the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere.”

Photo credits to Marco Verch Professional Photography. From Flickr. CC BY 2.0.

The data came from the most recent analysis of its latest clinical trial. The trial which started in late July 2020 recruited a total of 30,000 volunteers in the United States. Based on their results, Moderna announced that the vaccine had an impressive efficacy of 94.1 percent and that it didn’t change much even after six months. They also reported that the efficacy of the vaccine against severe cases was 98.2 and none of the vaccinated volunteers died. 

Booster shots, not yet necessary — WHO

Though the executives at Moderna are openly calling for the administration of the booster shots, other scientists remain in doubt about the need for it to boost immunity in fully vaccinated people. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) in particular, called for a moratorium on boosters until the end of September while urging the health leaders to focus on vaccinating at least 10 percent of their population.

Dr. Paul A. Offit, a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) vaccine advisory committee, said that the data presented by Moderna and other vaccine manufacturers did not justify rolling out boosters in the next few months. He said it is unnecessary unless the vaccines are no longer protecting the people against severe disease.

“You want this vaccine to protect against the kind of illness to cause you to seek medical attention or be hospitalized. And until you see any evidence that that isn’t true, then you don’t need a booster dose,” Offit claimed.