In the fight against COVID, the vaccine boosters need backup. Moderna is asking the Food and Drug Administration to approve a second booster shot for adults 18 and older. Why? The company and health experts say data shows vaccines become less effective against COVID over time.
"There is waning immunity. We've got to make sure that those people who have been vaccinated get boosted. only about 50% of the people who were eligible to be vaccinated have gotten their boost," said NIH Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Earlier this week, Pfizer-BioNTech also requested approval for a second booster shot for adults 65 and older. But even if the shots are approved, the White House warns the money to pay for them is drying up and is urging Congress to quickly approve $22.5 billion in emergency COVID funding.
The push for more booster shots comes during a mix of good and cautionary COVID news. Since the Omicron peak in January cases are down 95%. Hospitalizations down 85%. 215 million Americans are fully vaccinated. But a more transmissible variant is circulating in Europe that will likely spread to the U.S..
"We generally follow what goes on in the U.K. by about two to three weeks. So, we better pay close attention to what's going on there," said Dr. Fauci. "I would not be surprised … that if in the next few weeks given the fact that we've begun to open up and we have an increase in BA.2 variant, we'll see increased cases. Hopefully that's not associated with an increase in hospitalizations and severe disease."
Health experts say the boosters will help the U.S. transition out of the two-year-old COVID emergency, that has killed nearly a million Americans.
"Over time, this may very well become a seasonal disease where the amplitude of disease the amount of disease that's out there gets less and less over time," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
Once the boosters receive FDA approval, it's up to the CDC to recommend how and when the boosters will be rolled out to the public.