New vaccine formula may be needed in 2022 to fight new COVID-19 variants

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 9:55 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Get ready to possibly roll up your sleeves again.

It’s still in the planning stages, but one vaccine executive says you may need to get a new COVID-19 shot next year.

Currently, health officials are recommending everyone over the age of 12 to be fully vaccinated and if you’re over the age of 65 or immunocompromised, you can then get a Pfizer booster shot.

“Yes, me and my wife got vaccinated with Pfizer. Booster shot? I’m not sure yet. Would like to do some research,” said Roman Denkov of Memphis.

The head of BioNTech, who partnered with Pfizer to create the first vaccine, says a new formula for a new vaccine might be needed by mid-2022.

“I think we’re seeing a little shot fatigue. What people have to keep in mind is we’ve been getting shots all our lives. It’s been saving lives right? You would not send your child, actually, you can’t send your child to school without the measles, mumps, rubella,” said infectious disease expert, Dr. Manoj Jain.

While the current shot is effective against current COVID-19 variants, there is concern about new and emerging strains this current vaccine might not be able to contain.

Jain says the possibility of a new vaccine has always been on the table.

“Right now, we don’t need to be talking about another vaccine. We need to be talking about getting this vaccine we have for COVID and getting ourselves protected. If enough people get protected for this vaccine, they will be less likely for new variants and having to get another vaccine,” said Jain.

Currently, less than 50 percent of people in Tennessee and Mississippi are fully vaccinated.

Jain says being fully vaccinated protects from severe disease and a booster shot protects from even mild cases.

Jain also reminds us that this is familiar territory, considering every year there is a new formula for flu shots.

Speaking of flu shots, it’s that time of year again.

Health officials say it’s perfectly safe to get flu and COVID-19 shots at the same time.

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