The National Institutes of Health is beginning a clinical trial to determine whether getting a different brand of coronavirus vaccine for a booster shot is safe and effective.

The trial will enroll 150 fully vaccinated volunteers to see if any side effects emerge from getting a different type of brand and whether that gives them the desired immune system boost, CNN reported.

Currently, three vaccines have been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. Two vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, respectively, require two shots, while a Johnson & Johnson vaccine consists of one shot.

The clinical trial will be led by the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and the University of Maryland, College Park. A statement from the NIH said 12 to 20 weeks after the initial vaccination regimen, clinical trial participants will get a single dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as a part of the trial.

“People who have not yet received an FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccine are also eligible to enroll in the trial in a separate cohort,” the statement said, CNN reported. “Initially, these volunteers will receive the two-dose Moderna COVID-19 vaccine regimen and will be assigned to receive a booster dose of a vaccine about 12 to 20 weeks later.”

Public health leaders haven’t yet determined whether booster shots are needed.

“Although the vaccines currently authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration offer strong protection against COVID-19, we need to prepare for the possibility of needing booster shots to counter waning immunity and to keep pace with an evolving virus,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a statement, CNN reported. “The result of this trial is intended to inform public health policy decisions on the potential use of mixed vaccine schedules should booster doses be indicated.”

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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