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Pfizer begins testing use of pneumococcal vaccine with vaccine booster

Pfizer starts testing combo of its COVID-19 booster and pneumococcal shot on adults over 65 to see if the vaccines can be given together safely and to ramp up immune response

  •  Pfizer began a new study on Monday as they work towards creating a vaccine booster shot
  •  Study includes 600 people 65 or older who will be given a combination of the vaccine booster and a vaccine to prevent pneumococcal bacteria
  • Pneumococcal vaccines are believed to be effective against COVID-19
  • Third shot of the vaccine could be needed as early as September for some Americans 

Pfizer Inc said on Monday it has begun testing adults fully vaccinated against coronavirus with two new vaccines. 

Participants will be given the company’s 20-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (20vPnC) candidate – which helps fight illness caused by pneumococcal bacteria -along with a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shot. 

The aim of the study is to understand if the combination of the vaccines is safe, and the immune response after adding the pneumonia vaccine to the existing COVID-19 vaccine, the company said.    

Some experts also believe a pneumococcal vaccine can help combat COVID-19.

The study will include 600 adults over 65 years old who will be recruited from the late-stage study of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, and will have received their second dose of the vaccine at least six months prior to entering the co-administration study.

Pfizer is running tests of their vaccine booster shot combined with a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. A booster shot of their vaccine will likely be needed in the coming months by early recipients

Pfizer CEO Albert Borula said last week that his company is running trials on a booster shot for the vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines were previously recommended to be administered alone by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, based on experience with non-COVID vaccines, officials now believe COVID-19 shots and other vaccines can be given simultaneously or on the same day. 

The announcement comes as discussion around a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine begins across the country.

Boosters are needed as scientists are currently unsure as to how long immunity from the initial two doses will last.

There is also potential for a vaccine resistant variant to form over time, requiring future doses for Americans to stay safe.

Last week, Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla both said at an Axios conference that a third dose will likely be necessary for Americans in the coming months.

Bourla said his company is still in the early stages of trials for a booster shot, but some data on the shots may be available soon.

Third doses may be needed as soon as eight months after the second dose in order to remain safe from COVID-19.

For the vaccines earliest recipients – who would have received their second dose in January – that means they will need the third dose in September.

Currently, more than 60 percent of American adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the CDC.

Health officials have struggled to get the remaining unvaccinated population inoculated, though, with the amount of Americans getting vaccinated every week on a decline since late April.

Convincing Americans to receive their third dose may be an even bigger challenge, as millions have not returned to even received their second.

Health officials have had trouble convincing Americans to get vaccinated in recent weeks as the countries vaccination rate steadily declines

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  • Posted on May 24, 2021