Moderna announced it started the second phase of its clinical trials on a vaccine that specifically targets the omicron variant, which could be a game changer as it accounts for 99.9% of infections in the United States.
“I hope this is successful,and I hope that it gets rid of all of this,” said Gabriela Garcia of San Jose. “I’m ready to go back to normal.”
Santa Clara County’s assistant chief public health officer pointed out the new booster will still need FDA and CDC approval.
“So I wouldn’t encourage people to wait thinking that something better might be coming because what we have available now is highly effective,” said Jennifer Tong.
On Thursday, Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Paul Burton, told NBC Bay Area that an omicron-specific booster is important because the COVID variant may be here to stay. But added that like the current vaccine, it starts to lose strength.
“Our prediction is that we’ll need one in the autumn of this year, and then perhaps yearly thereafter,” he said.
That could mean ongoing mandates.
Garcias still wants the new booster developed, even though she has mixed feelings about her school's mandate.
“So I understand the frustration of having to do it and being mandated to do it,” she said. “It’s not like a flu shot where it’s optional, this is a mandate.”
While Moderna begins its next phase of clinical trials, the Pfizer and BioNTech companies announced this week they are starting their own clinical trials as well.
The good news is that Moderna says the companies are sharing data and working together to come up with an effective vaccine.