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Moderna reveals what happens to COVID-19 immunity over time

Moderna said a new study should work as evidence for the need for booster vaccine shots

Syringes are filled with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Syringes are filled with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Salt Lake County’s mass vaccination site at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

Moderna said new data from a late-stage clinical trial shows there’s proof of waning COVID-19 vaccine immunity, suggesting COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are needed to stop severe illness from COVID-19.

Does Moderna’s COVID vaccine stop severe COVID?

According to Moderna, data show that the people who were vaccinated between December 2020 and March 2021 had 36% fewer COVID-19 “breakthrough” cases compared to those who were vaccinated during the initial trial for the vaccine, which ran from July 2020 to October 2020.

  • There were 88 breakthrough cases out of 14,746 fully vaccinated people in the recent trial.
  • But there were 162 COVID-19 breakthrough cases among 11,431 people from the original trial participants.

Do you need a booster shot?

Stephen Hoge, president at Moderna, said this is a sign that boosters are needed.

  • Per Reuters, Hoge said the first six months are great, but you can’t count on that being stable out to a year and beyond.”

Moderna’s new data comes as there’s an ongoing debate about the need for booster shots. The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that the COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. offer significant protection against severe disease and death by COVID-19, and there isn’t a need for additional doses, per The Wall Street Journal.

  • “Overall, data indicate that currently U.S.-licensed or authorized COVID-19 vaccines still afford protection against severe COVID-19 disease and death in the United States,” the FDA said, according to CNBC.

However, the Biden administration has been calling for the need for additional COVID-19 booster shots, especially for those with underlying medical conditions and who are immunocompromised.