Pfizer begins testing COVID-19 booster shot

Researchers also testing how it works with other common vaccines

Biopharmaceutical company Pfizer has administered its first COVID-19 booster shots.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Biopharmaceutical company Pfizer has administered its first COVID-19 booster shots.

It’s a third dose Americans could take yearly -- like the flu shot -- to prevent contracting new strains of the coronavirus.

Researchers are also testing how it works with other common vaccines

“That’s what we’ve been wondering about the booster shot, you know, if there’s going to be a booster every fall that we have to get, is it something we can combine with another vaccine?” said Dr. Sunil Joshi, the president of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation.

Pfizer announced Monday morning that it had started testing a COVID-19 booster shot -- a third dose the company’s CEO said fully vaccinated people will likely need in another 12 months.

The goal of the study is to see whether another vaccine can be taken along with a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. In the study, participants will get both the booster shot and a pneumonia vaccine.

“To see if they’re able to tolerate it, see if that in any way adversely affects their development of antibodies against COVID-19 and see how the immune reaction is, you know, the side effect profile of the combination,” Joshi explained. “And if that looks good, maybe then consider combining it with seasonal flu vaccine as well.”

At the same time, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating several reports that teenagers and young adults may have developed a heart problem called myocarditis days after getting vaccinated. The agency has not yet determined there’s evidence that the shots actually caused the heart condition.

“This is very preliminary, and I would not get too concerned about it until the details are fleshed out,” said Dr. Michael Koren, a cardiologist and the director of research at the Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research. “There’s a good chance these will just be random cases that have absolutely nothing to do with the vaccine.”

Koren also pointed out the coronavirus itself has been shown to cause myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle.

“You should always consider the side effects of the vaccine against side effects of COVID-19,” Koren said. “You’re far more likely to get severe cardiac side effects from COVID-19 than from the vaccine, based on lots of information.”

According to the CDC, most of these cases appear to be mild, and more often than not, the cases are occurring in adolescent or young adult males.

About the Author:

Kelly Wiley, an award-winning investigative reporter, joined the News4Jax I-Team in June 2019.