Virally speaking, a third strike against the coronavirus is “definitely a bonus,” but there are a number of ethical and other caveats to the decision. This is what virologist Johan Niets of the University of KU Leuven says. “It’s a complicated story with no black and white answer.”
“Virally speaking, I’m excited about the booster dose,” says Nets. “It is definitely a bonus. The findings from Israel point very clearly in this direction. There, the effect of the third dose on infection risk for each age group was examined. Eight to ten days after the third injection, the risk of infection drops by a factor of 10 to 20. This also makes sense: the third injection produces more antibodies. They are gradually decreasing, especially in people who have already been vaccinated in January or February. The third shot also ensures that the immune system retains its effect in the long term.”
However, there are other considerations to be made, says the virologist. If vaccines are used in the West, they cannot be used in developing countries. This is an ethical question.” On the other hand, mRNA vaccines must be strongly cooled and therefore less easy to distribute in developing countries. “In the West, they can be used optimally.” In any case, vaccine production and distribution should be increased in third world countries, according to Nets. .
“We’re also working on a 2.0 version of vaccines,” says Nets. So the question is whether people should now release a third dose of the original vaccines. Wouldn’t it be better to wait for updated vaccinations for those under 50? The current vaccine is based on a strain that no longer exists. That’s also an element of the story.” It’s not clear when the renewed vaccines will be ready.