COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Multiple studies now suggest one COVID-19 vaccine may be outperforming the others. The research results may affect how U.S. health leaders approach the rollout of booster shots.
The toe-to-toe comparison found that, although all three vaccines were effective at preventing infection and hospitalization, the Moderna two-shot series was more effective for longer periods of time than either Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson.
“There’s less slide with the Moderna, more slide with the Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson,” explained Dr. Anup Kanodia, a family physician in central Ohio.
On September 22-23, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met to discuss the latest developments in COVID-19 vaccine research and the waning efficacy of all three authorized shots.
One strong indicator of Moderna’s longevity was its success in preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations. Over a four-month time span, several studies found the vaccine was still 92-percent effective at keeping fully vaccinated people out of the hospital. Pfizer’s effectiveness dropped to 77-percent. The single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot was 68-percent effective after four months.
“They wanted to help people stay out of the hospital and help people keep from getting really sick. And all of these vaccines are doing it,” Dr. Kanodia said.
He expects Moderna’s longer-term performance to influence the CDC and FDA’s decisions about booster shots, and thinks the Johnson & Johnson booster will be authorized next.
“There’s no booster for Moderna yet. But maybe you don’t need to jump to get a Pfizer booster right now or a Johnson & Johnson booster,” he suggested for individuals who are already vaccinated with Moderna.
Central Ohio vaccine providers began offering the third dose of the Pfizer vaccine after it became the first of the vaccine options authorized for a booster six months after the second dose. Only people over age 65, those with certain underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems, and those who live or work in environments with a high risk for exposure to the virus are currently eligible for the booster.
Many health leaders say there is ample supply of the vaccines for boosters, but the top priority should be getting the shots into the arms of unvaccinated individuals.
“We know the effects, big picture. If you don’t get the vaccine and you get COVID, the chances of you being hospitalized are a lot higher,” Dr. Kanodia said.
You can see the complete research data from the CDC’s ACIP meeting by clicking on this link.