The delta variant is so contagious that it will change the way the COVID-19 vaccines work in the future, Moderna president Stephen Hoge told CNBC.

  • The delta variant is “just so good at infecting people and replicating that it raises the bar on how good vaccines have to be,” Hoge told CNBC. “It’s actually shown some of the weaknesses that (vaccines) have earlier than you might expect.”
  • Hoge’s comments come as breakthrough cases hit the fully vaccinated.

Are COVID breakthrough cases common?

Though still rare, breakthrough cases are becoming more common as vaccine immunity starts to wane and the delta variant becomes stronger. These cases don’t often lead to hospitalization or death, though.

  • For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 12,908 severe COVID-19 breakthrough cases among fully vaccinated people that resulted in hospitalization or death, according to CNN. In total, 173 million people in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated.
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Is COVID immunity waning?

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Moderna said new data from a late-stage clinical trial reveals that there’s proof of waning immunity, and that COVID-19 booster shots might be needed to stop severe cases of COVID-19, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • “The delta variant is not an immune escape variant,” Hoge told CNBC, adding that it weakens our defenses against viruses.
  • “It’s what has probably led to the phase 3 results that we’re seeing right now. It’s led to the difference in the real-world efficacy that’s been reported between the vaccines this summer,” he said.
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