Now that COVID-19 vaccines have been proven safe and effective, the next question on everyone’s mind is whether fully vaccinated people will need a third shot to boost immunity. Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) is teaming up with Pfizer to help answer that question by enrolling patients in Pfizer’s new COVID-19 booster trial.
This is not the first time LVHN has partnered with Pfizer. LVHN enrolled 75 participants in the first Pfizer vaccine trial and 25 of those participants have now been chosen to take part in the subsequent booster trial. There will be 10,000 people worldwide enrolled in Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster trial. The trial is expected to last roughly a year and will determine whether the booster provides additional protection from COVID-19 and COVID-19 variants.
What’s involved in the study
According to Joseph Yozviak, DO, LVHN Principal Investigator for the COVID-19 booster clinical trial, the study will be placebo controlled, which means participants will either receive a dose of the vaccine or salt water (placebo). The same dosage and formulation of the original Pfizer vaccine is being used as the booster in this first part of the study.
Yozviak says it’s important that LVHN has participants enrolled in Pfizer’s study. “It’s important to have our region represented in a study like this because it’s a critical issue that’s going to affect all of us down the road,” he says.
Who may benefit from research
Research has already caused change. Based on data reviews, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommend that people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised receive a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The two mRNA vaccines that have Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA are Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.
Starting in mid-August, LVHN began offering third vaccine shots to qualified people in this group. Learn more about third COVID-19 shots at LVHN.org/thirdshot.
Yozviak stresses that it is currently not known if a third COVID-19 shot is necessary for all individuals. “Right now, the most important thing that you can do is make sure that you are fully vaccinated with both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Each has been proven highly effective against COVID-19 and variants like delta,” he says.