Created: February 25, 2021 05:18 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A few dozen Rochesterians involved in the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial have now been given a third booster shot.
The select group of folks were part of the initial Pfizer study at URMC and have been fully vaccinated for six months. Now, researchers want to see whether a booster shot will not just prolong their protection but help shield them from other strains of the virus.
“I don't think that we would be doing this booster study early if we hadn't had the development of the variants,” said Dr. Ann Falsey, the lead researcher in URMC’s Infectious Disease Unit.
So, how might more of the same vaccine protect against different strains?
“it may be that you can overcome the variants by just boosting the antibodies higher,” Dr. Falsey explained, adding that most of the patients have seen minimal side effects from the third shot.
Pfizer also plans to begin testing whether a modified version of the vaccine works well against the variant from South Africa.
“Once we get the information on the safety and then the antibody responses of this small group, they (Pfizer) probably will move forward and by then they'll have likely have a new vaccine variant that covers the variants that they will move into testing too,” Dr. Falsey said of the likely next steps.
It seems many members of the community are itching to be part of future vaccine studies.
“As we have more success stories with different types of vaccines there will be this issue of mixing and matching, we'll have multiple options, people are going to say which one should I get, so I am sure we’ll be moving on to study that as well,” Dr. Falsey said.
URMC is also gearing up to do pediatric studies on both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
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