KEY POINTS

  • Pfizer said a third booster shot could produce 10 times more antibodies than the second shot
  • The top two federal health agencies say Americans don't need boosters yet 
  • US officials say fully vaccinated people are at low risk of being infected with COVID-19

Two top federal health agencies have insisted that there is no need for a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot after drugmaker Pfizer announced plans to apply for emergency use authorization for a third dose. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a joint statement dismissing the need for booster shots among vaccinated people.

"Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time," they said, according to CNN

The agencies’ joint statement comes hours after Pfizer announced Thursday that it would seek emergency use authorization for a booster dose in August after witnessing waning immunity from its COVID-19 vaccine shots.

"While protection against severe disease remained high across the full six months, a decline in efficacy against symptomatic disease over time and the continued emergence of variants are expected. Based on the totality of the data they have to date, Pfizer and BioNTech believe that a third dose may be beneficial within 6 to 12 months following the second dose to maintain the highest levels of protection,” Pfizer said in a statement sent to CNN.

The drugmaker also noted that its research showed that booster doses produced antibodies that were up to 10 times higher than what is produced after the second shot.  

"The companies expect to publish more definitive data soon as well as in a peer-reviewed journal and plan to submit the data to the FDA, EMA (European Medicines Agency) and other regulatory authorities in the coming weeks," it added.

Meanwhile, Israel’s health ministry Tuesday said the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was only 64% effective in preventing symptomatic infections as the Delta variant spreads. In comparison, data from clinical trials in 2020 showed the vaccine was 95% effective in preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19, as reported by MarketWatch.

Pfizer’s vaccine is still 93% effective at preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, the Israeli health ministry said. 

However, U.S. officials have reiterated that fully vaccinated people have a low risk of being infected by COVID-19, even from the Delta variant, which is at least 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, first detected in the U.K. 

Pfizer and BioNTech also said they were developing a Delta-specific vaccine to combat the highly transmissible Covid variant Pfizer and BioNTech also said they were developing a Delta-specific vaccine to combat the highly transmissible Covid variant Photo: AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS