EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) — As more Americans get the Covid-19 vaccine, the race to research booster shots continues. Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are all researching the potential use of booster shots for vaccinated individuals. Many scientists have said there could be a need for these shots, but many questions still remain.
If a booster is needed, scientists will need to determine when the right time is for an individual to receive one.
In April, an official with the FDA said immunity from the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines should last at least nine months. The protection could last longer, but that is the longest volunteers have been observed in trial settings.
The chief of infectious diseases at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso said individuals might have more flexibility when it comes to choosing a booster vaccine, potentially taking a different company's vaccine.
Dr. Armando Meza said if the virus keeps spreading, booster shots may continue to be necessary.
"If we're to achieve herd immunity, then booster doses will not be as needed because there will not be as many cases out there," Meza said.
Meza said levels of protection will vary in different people, but scientists don't have a test to determine exactly how much each person is protected.
"I think that the next step in science should be to develop some way to know what is your level of protection because that way you can customize your vaccination to how much protection you have," he said.
Meza said the U.S. may instead opt for a simplified approach where officials provide a more general time frame for individuals to get the booster, similar to the seasonal flu vaccine.