Hawaii doctor says too soon to know if third coronavirus shot will be needed


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may need a booster shot, according to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Dr. Warren Sparks, who volunteers at Kauai’s COVID-19 vaccination sites, said people should not start signing up for a third Pfizer shot just yet.

Bourla said, it is likely people will need another dose six months to a year after receiving the first two COVID-19 shots.

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Bourla said the variants will be a determining factor as nothing is confirmed yet. Pfizer’s data said its COVID-19 vaccine is more than 95% effective against severe illness, seven days through six months after receiving the second dose.

Sparks said, “I thought this was a little premature, we don’t yet have enough evidence of waning immunity.”  

Sparks wants to give the studies at least three more months to determine how effective the vaccines are over time.

He said scientists will be able to determine if the antibodies of fully vaccinated people begin to decrease — along with other metrics — with more time to study the doses.

“How many people get sick after being fully vaccinated,” Sparks said. “And even more important than that is six months out, eight months, nine months, 12 months out are we seeing deaths from COVID-19 in people who were fully vaccinated.”

Warren predicts the vaccine could be effective for more than a year against the existing variants. He said there may be a need for a booster shot sooner if spike proteins on the coronavirus drastically change, making the current doses ineffective.

“One of these days there may come along a new variant,” Sparks said. “Give it enough time, give it enough viral replications where these mutations happen, we will see a new spike protein that will be deadly when it gets in us and we’re not protected against it.”

Sparks said virus mutations are not there yet and could be avoided with more people getting the shot.

Hawaii reached a milestone on Thursday with more than one million doses administered.

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