Biomedical analyst Matti Sallberg of the Swedish Karolinska Institute (KI) said individuals inoculated with just two COVID-19 vaccine doses may not have enough protection. He suggested that "recurring shots" will be necessary to maintain immunity against SARS-CoV-2. "We don't know how long the vaccine protects against serious illness and death. This means that you pick the safe before the unsafe," Sallberg said.
Sallberg continued: "After receiving the second dose, the immune response slowly subsides. Within a year, many may have lost their protection. We do not know yet, but if you get a third dose, it will be activated again." He added: "Biology says that a fading immune response is not unlikely. Then it's time to for a third, fourth [or] maybe fifth dose."
Sallberg's comments came as numerous European countries announced a third round of COVID-19 booster shots in September 2021. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also indicated that vaccinated Americans will receive booster shots in the fall.
However, the professor's comments in support of booster shots appeared to have an ulterior motive. Alongside his stint at KI, Sallberg also held executive positions at vaccine manufacturer Svenska Vaccin Fabriken (SVF). The company's website named him as SVF founder, chairman of the board and chief scientific officer.
An Israeli doctor seemingly echoed Sallberg's comments regarding vaccine effectiveness. Speaking to Channel 13 News, Dr. Kobi Haviv warned that the effectiveness of the vaccines are waning. He added that 95 percent of hospitalized Israelis with the most severe symptoms are vaccinated.
Haviv also pointed out that 85 to 90 percent of Israelis hospitalized due to COVID-19 were vaccinated. "I understand that most of the patients are vaccinated, even 'severe' patients," he told the news channel. According to Haviv, the breakthrough infections set up a scenario where booster shots would become necessary. (Related: IT NEVER ENDS: Anthony Fauci says booster dose of coronavirus vaccine will be necessary in the future.)
Despite Sallberg's insistence on booster doses, many scientists have questioned their need as there is still not enough data calling to justify them. Back in June 2021, scientists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the general population may not need COVID-19 booster doses for the time being.
The scientists however noted that booster doses may be needed when vaccine-induced immunity dwindles or a new variant negatively affects vaccine effectiveness. They also recommended booster shots for more vulnerable groups such as the elderly and organ transplant recipients.
CDC medical epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Oliver said the agency should monitor residents of long-term care facilities, the elderly, health care workers and people with a weakened immune system. She pointed out these groups as the ones who may need booster shots.
Dr. Sharon Frey, a member of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), also remarked that booster shots may not be needed as of this time. However, she agreed that a third booster dose should be given to organ transplant patients. Frey continued: "[If] we start to see an uptick in reinfection in people, or new infections in people who have been vaccinated – that's our clue that we need to move quickly." (Related: If covid vaccines WORK, then why are "booster" shots needed?)
Dr. Grace Lee, the chairwoman of the ACIP's safety group, mentioned that more evidence of breakthrough cases is needed before COVID-19 booster shots are recommended for the general population. "I would want greater clarity on the safety data if we're talking about boosting before it's clear what the risk data will look like. If we're seeing severe breakthrough cases, then I think the decision-making moves forward even if there's uncertainty with the safety data," she said.
Back in May 2021, Former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden insisted that annual inoculations with COVID-19 vaccine booster doses were unnecessary. "There is zero – and I mean zero – evidence to suggest that that is the case," he said. Frieden continued: "It's completely inappropriate to say that we're likely to need an annual booster, because we have no idea what the likelihood of that is."
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