What to know about Moderna's next-generation variant-specific booster

Dr. Richard Besser discusses Moderna’s "bivalent" booster that is expected to be more effective against new variants.
3:01 | 07/12/22

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Transcript for What to know about Moderna's next-generation variant-specific booster
INSURANCE AND TELEHEALTH SERVICES, ROBIN. >> ALL RIGHT, EVA. THANK YOU SO MUCH. AND JOINING US NOW IS DR. RICHARD BESSER, FORMER COLLEAGUE OF OURS, DEAR FRIEND, NOW PRESIDENT OF THE ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION AND FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE CDC. RICH, ALWAYS GOOD TO HAVE YOU WITH US AND WANT TO GET YOUR INPUT HERE. WE JUST HEARD MODERNA'S POSITIVE RESULTS WITH VACCINES THAT ALSO TARGET OMICRON AND ITS SUBVARIANTS. SHOULD PEOPLE WAIT UNTIL THE NEW VACCINES ARE APPROVED BEFORE GETTING THEIR BOOSTERS, RICH? >> YOU KNOW, ROBIN, THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS PEOPLE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT HERE. ONE IS WHAT IS YOUR OWN PERSONAL RISK? ARE YOU IN A GROUP THAT'S AT A GREATER RISK FOR HOSPITALIZATION OR POTENTIALLY DYING FROM COVID? ONE OF THE CHALLENGES HERE IS THAT THE VACCINE MANUFACTURERS ARE REALLY CHASING THE VARIANTS AS THEY MUTATE SO THE MODERNA DATA THAT THEY SHARED IN THEIR PRESS RELEASE IS ENCOURAGING IN TERMS OF TARGETING OMICRON OVERALL, BUT IT'S NOT AS GOOD AGAINST THE NEW BA.4 AND FIBA.5 VARIANTS. WE COULD SEE OTHER VARIANTS. MY RECOMMENDATION IS EACH PERSON SHOULD REMAIN FULLY VACCINATED, UP TO DATE, IN TERMS OF WHO THEY ARE, WHAT VACCINE THEY RECEIVE, THEIR AGE GROUP AND RISK FACTORS, AND THAT WILL VARY. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT THAT. I'VE GOTTEN MY SECOND BOOSTER, AND I EXPECT THIS FALL I'LL BE GETTING ANOTHER BOOSTER WHETHER IT'S ONE OF THE SAME OR WHETHER IT INCLUDES AN OMICRON VARIANT. IT'S TOO SOON TO SAY ON THAT. >> AND, RICH, PICKING UP A PARTICIPATE OF WHAT YOU JUST TALKED ABOUT THERE, WHAT WE'RE HEARING ABOUT THE NEW VARIANT IS CONCERNING AS WE KEEP EMPHASIZING IT DOES APPEAR IT'S NOT CAUSING SEVERE ILLNESS AT THIS POINT, BUT HOW DOES THIS NEW VARIANT -- HOW DOES IT RESPOND TO ANTIBODIES FROM VACCINES AND PREVIOUS INFECTIONS? >> YEAH, AS THE VIRUS CHANGES, AS IT MUTATES, LITTLE CHANGES OCCUR TO PARTS OF THE VIRUS. ONE IN PARTICULAR CALLED THE SPIKE PROTEIN. THAT ALLOWS THE VIRUS TO GET AROUND THE PROTECTIVE FACTORS, THE ANTIBODIES OF THE VACCINES AND PREVIOUS INFECTION HAVE GIVEN US. WE GET SOME PROTECTION BECAUSE, YOU'RE RIGHT, WE'RE NOT SEEING AN INCREASE IN DEATHS AROUND THE COUNTRY, THANKFULLY. WE ARE SEEING A LOT OF INCREASING CASES AND THAT IS BECAUSE OF THOSE SMALL CHANGES THAT OCCUR. AND UNTIL THIS VIRUS IS CONTROLLED EVERYWHERE AROUND THE GLOBE, WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO SEE A LOT OF NEW STRAINS COMING AND THAT WILL BE CHALLENGING TO US ALL. >> RICH, BOTTOM LINE THIS FOR US. I DON'T HAVE TO TELL YOU THERE IS SO MUCH FATIGUE RIGHT NOW, A BIT OF CONFUSION. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT YOU WANT OUR VIEWERS TO KNOW THIS MORNING? >> YEAH, I WOULD SAY KNOW THAT EVERYONE'S RISK IS NOT THE SAME. THERE MAY BE SOMEONE AROUND YOU WHO HAS A DISABILITY, WHO HAS A MEDICAL CONDITION THAT PUTS THEM AT INCREASED RISK. WHAT YOU DO MATTERS FOR THEM. KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON IN YOUR COMMUNITY SO AS THE LEVELS GO UP YOU CAN TAKE STEPS LIKE WEARING MASKS INDOOR THAT CAN HELP YOU, YOUR FAMIL

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