FORT WORTH, Texas — The COVID-19 vaccine booster could start Sept. 20, pending authorization of the US Food and Drug Administration and approval of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"What we're seeing now that is getting the CDC's attention is a waning of our immunity to the first shots. And at the same time, we're seeing a more contagious variant," said Dr. Curtis Galke, chairman of the Department of Family Osteopathic Medicine at UNT Health Science Center's Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.
He said in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, the initial vaccines are extremely effective, and a booster would lower the infection rate of COVID-19. However, Dr. Galke said many people still need to get their first vaccines, and that should remain a priority.
"You want to stay ahead of the virus," said Dr. Anthony Fauci in a press briefing on Wednesday. "You don't want to find yourself behind playing catchup."
That's how Dr. Mark Koch describes the virus too: one step ahead for the last 18 months.
Over the last two months in North Texas, Dr. Koch and his team at Ventavia Research Group have been running clinical trials on the Pfizer and Moderna booster shots. He's the principal investigator and also a family physician.
"So far, the trials have not shown anything dangerous. There have not been any warning signals in the trials," said Dr. Koch.
However, he said time will tell how long the booster vaccines will last as more data is collected from the trials.
"If you received the Pfizer, then you would receive a Pfizer booster. If you received Moderna, you would receive the Moderna booster. I don't know what the plans are for Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca," he said.
Dr. Koch believes the booster shot will provide protection and help in the fight against COVID-19.
Ventavia Research Group is seeking volunteers for various clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine research, including boosters.