August 6, 2021 |
At the end of a dark and scary 2020, they appeared like Yuletide gifts on Christmas Eve. The first 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in Rawlins on December 24th. It was a Thursday. The hospital’s freezers were chilled and ready to be stocked. The rollout of the two-dose regimen began after the holiday weekend. The first doses went to medical practitioners, then to the vulnerable.
By spring, public health officials opened the rollout of the shots to the wider population in Carbon County. Six months has passed since the first doses were administered. The clock is ticking.
Yesterday, Moderna officials said a third, booster shot will “likely be necessary” by this Christmas. The announcement came in the pharmaceutical company’s second quarter earnings call. According to the report, the two-shot dose of Moderna is showing “efficacy through six months,” but it may not be effective against the Delta variant. Further, the effects of the drugs begin wearing off after six months.
The document states, “We believe that increased force of infection from Delta, non-pharmaceutical intervention fatigue, and seasonal effects (moving indoors) will lead to an increase of break-through infection in vaccinated individuals.”
“Non-pharmaceutical intervention fatigue” is scholarly jargon for people being sick and tired of wearing face masks.
The bottom line is this: Once injected, the chemistry in the vaccination appears to have a six-month shelf life in the human body. After that, the “neutralizing titers will continue to wane, and eventually impact vaccine efficiency.” Titers are the antibodies that combat the virus. Because the antibodies produced by mRNA vaccine wane over time, the document forecasts the need for a “dose 3 booster.”
One of the slides in Moderna’s business report to shareholders said it would advance a portfolio of booster candidates in ongoing studies at 50 and 100 microgram levels. It listed two variant specific booster candidates, as well as two other multi-valent platforms.
In the financial summary of the call, Moderna reported making almost all of its money this year on its COVID-19 vaccine. The company states that of the $4.4 billion in revenues earned in the second quarter, $4.2 billion was in vaccine sales.
So far this year, Moderna has taken in $20 billion in sales, beating earnings expectations. Net income for second quarter is listed at $2.8 billion. The outlook is so good, company officials announced they’re buying back $1 billion worth of stock sold during leaner times.