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Pfizer Developing Annual Covid Vaccination, Booster Shot Protection, Reinfection Rate, More

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Pfizer Working  on Annual  Covid Vaccination

 

 

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Source: Twitter.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Source: Twitter.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is working on developing a one-shot annual vaccine to replace its current vaccine, which loses its efficacy after three to six months and requires multiple booster shots, company CEO Albert Bourla told Israel’s Channel 12 on Saturday night.

He said that getting jabbed every four or five months “will not be a good scenario” and that having an annual shot, similar to the flu vacccine, “from a public health perspective, it is an ideal situation.”

The CEO noted that Pfizer is still on target to have an Omicron-specific vaccine by March, and that the company is also evaluating other types of offerings, including taking a fourth dose of the existing vaccine, increasing vaccine dosage and even a hybrid Delta-Omicron shot.

“We want to cover all possible scenarios so we can protect, but of course time is ticking,” Bourla said.

Bourla told Channel 12 that while he does not believe the virus will be eradicated but will be “with us for the years to come,” he does expect it to become more manageable, due to the tools developed by Pfizer and others.

“I think we should be able to [live our] normal lives, and only if a variant like Omicron is a really different game, this is when we will have anomalies that we will be able to control in a few months,” Bourla said.

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Booster Shots Offer Protection

New studies released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday showed that a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine provides robust protection against hospitalization and severe disease.

The findings, while promising, come as the U.S. is seeing a massive spike in infections due to the omicron variant, which is overwhelming hospitals throughout the country.

Cuts emergency department visits: One analysis found getting a third dose of an mRNA vaccine was at least 90 percent effective at preventing COVID-19-associated hospitalization, both during the delta and omicron periods.

A third shot reduced a person’s risk of an emergency department and urgent care visit by 94 percent during delta and 82 percent during omicron.

Fully vaccinated: Despite the findings, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the agency is not changing the definition of fully vaccinated, but will “pivot the language” to focus on being “up to date.”

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Covid reinfection: how likely are you to catch virus multiple times?

Omicron may have affected risk in England, but other factors could include vaccination and severity of previous infection

Anecdotal reports of Covid reinfection in the UK are growing, including people testing positive just weeks apart in December and January, or having had the virus three or even four times. Children are also being seen with reinfections. We take a look at the science behind catching Covid multiple times.

What is a reinfection?

Reinfection figures tend to refer to the detection of a second, or subsequent, Covid infection, regardless of the variant involved. The risk of reinfection is likely to depend on a range of factors: for example, data suggests it is higher in unvaccinated people and potentially in those whose previous infection was more mild with a lower immune response.

It also depends on the variant: one expert said the risk of reinfection with Omicron soon after a first Omicron infection would be lower than Delta followed by Omicron, and how long ago someone was vaccinated. Experts say the dose to which someone is exposed may also be important.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) uses the definition of a possible reinfection as a case 90 days or more after a previous confirmed Covid infection, in part because it excludes those who simply shed the virus for longer after infection.

How many reinfections have there been?
According to the latest figures for England from the UKHSA, from the start of the pandemic up to 9 January this year there were 425,890 possible reinfections, with 109,936 found in the week ending 9 January, accounting for almost 11% of all cases that week.

Very few possible reinfections are “confirmed” as that requires genetic sequencing. What’s more, with few people in the community having access to tests in the first wave, many first infections may not have been counted.

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UK Public urged to sign up for drug trial

Two pills designed to treat Covid have completed clinical trials, but now volunteers are needed for a study into who would benefit the most from the antiviral drugs. Molnupiravir and paxlovid have shown promising results at reducing the risk of serious illness or death. They are part of a UK study which is looking for over-50s and younger people with underlying health conditions to take part.

 

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