MD- the Covid-19 vaccines are working very well but even fully vaccinated individuals may require boosters in the future according to some doctors. 

According to data from the federal health department the Covid-19 vaccines are providing almost 90% protection from infection. But at the same time there is a lot of discussion about vaccine boosters for fully vaccinated individuals as well. 

White House Discussing Probable Vaccine Booster

This confusing new discussion about booster doses is because of triple pronged combination of waning natural immunity, a quickly mutating variant and slow vaccination rollout. 

White House Discussing Probable Vaccine Booster

The commonly used vaccines at present- Moderna, Pfizer BioNTech are all providing almost 90% protection against Covid infection and death from the disease. But they are also not being able to fully stop the disease. 

Immunologist and microbiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, Scott Hensley explains that ordinary people believe that the vaccine acts like a shield against the virus. But in reality if the virus is present in the air, it will enter the body of even vaccinated individuals. 

Only in case of vaccinated individuals, they have a lot more antibodies to act as the body’s first line of defense against the virus. Vaccines stimulate the body to produce special antibodies targeted to neutralize the Covid-19 virus. 

But over time these Covid-19 antibodies begin to decrease in a natural process as anti-bodies for other diseases are also produced. Some new mutations of the Covid-19 virus are also able to sometimes evade the vaccine produced anti-bodies. 

The CDC data shows that this trend is already visible in the USA. The 90% effectiveness of vaccines is still true, but the number of mild infections and asymptomatic cases has been on the rise among fully vaccinated individuals. 

White House Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy believes that the rise in these mild infections is due to the waning natural antibodies as well as due to the spread of the new Delta variant of the virus. 

A study conducted in nursing homes has shown that immunity against all infections fell from 75% in March 2021 to 53% in August 2021. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases believes that a third dose of the vaccine to fully vaccinated individuals will make their immunity increase ten-fold. He feels that this rise in immunity will be a necessity to curb the spread of the Delta variant. 

But Hensley explains that there is no need to panic just yet. Vaccines also produce a long-term cellular response against the virus in the form of virus identifying T-cells and antibody producing B-cells. Hensley feels that it is this kind of a long term response that keeps vaccinated individuals away from hospitalizations. Infections may still happen, but there severity is much reduced. So Hensley is of the opinion that a third dose of vaccination will not be able to do much to improve the already high effective of the vaccines against death and severe disease. 

But federal health officials are not yet ready to accept that vaccine immunity is waning in the USA. There has been some data suggesting that natural immunity from vaccines is waning in Israel because it had been very quick to vaccinate its population. The US government has assured citizens that they are closely monitoring the situation in Israel to better understand the phenomenon of waning immunity. 

At present 99% of Covid-19 infections in the USA are from the Delta variant of the virus and according to Rachel Walensky, the Director of the CDC, the vaccine effectiveness against the Delta variant is lower than against other previous versions of the virus. So the CDC is once again suggesting indoor masking for fully vaccinated individuals. 

At present all countries around the world are pushing for increased vaccination to achieve herd immunity against the virus. There is no need yet for a booster right now. But the US FDA and the CDC are chalking out a plan for the boosters if such a need arises in the future.