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Moderna CEO warns people may need another COVID-19 booster in fall 2022

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Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel joins Yahoo Finance Live’s Anjalee Khemlani to discuss new COVID-19 data and the need for another booster as early as this fall.

Video Transcript

- First, we turn our attention to the pandemic, and some fresh comments out of Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel. Yahoo Finance Senior Healthcare Reporter Anjalee Khemlani is here with the details. Anjalee.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Thanks Brian. Yep, we heard from Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel at a healthcare conference hosted by Goldman Sachs, saying that we're going to need boosters in the fall of this year. And this comes, really, at a time where we're hearing about increased cases and hospitalizations across the country. But I want to point to the fact that his belief in the need for boosters has been consistent over time. Here's what he told us last year.

STEPHANE BANCEL: I think we're going to need boosters starting this fall. And there are a few reasons I believe that. One, is there is a body of work, including done by Professor Davenport in Australia, that has been published that shows that the immunity is waning over time. It's still high, but it's going down. Point number one.

Point number two is the variants. Which is, I think your chance of being sick if you got vaccinated in December 2020 or January '21, next fall is pretty high if you get infected by a variant, not the ancestral strain for which the vaccine was designed.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: So as you can hear, really consistent on that messaging pointing to data-- we even got new data today-- pointing to the fact that many mRNA vaccines are doing a much better job of increasing protection over time, especially with those boosters as compared to Johnson & Johnson. And this comes just as the CDC has followed suit, when it reduced the timeline for booster doses. We know earlier they reduced the timeline for Pfizer vaccines for 18 and up to five months after the primary course. They've now followed suit today, announcing a five month interim for primary course to booster for Moderna as well. So that is likely going to follow through for when we need the next booster, so it's important to keep an eye on that.

Meanwhile, of course we see across the country the increase in cases daily, pushing the average up to more than 600,000 per day now. And that's a steep increase compared to just last month. Meanwhile, hospitalizations do continue to increase. If you remember, Julie, we had talked early on about how this variant seemed to be less impactful on hospitals. That is true in one category, and that's for ICU. We're not seeing as much use of ventilators and other desperate needs, but that is only for individuals, really, who are coming in with COVID. And that's been a debate in the healthcare community, finding these cases largely through screening, maybe for underlying conditions.

So right now we see more than 100,000 daily hospitalizations. About a fifth of that is in the ICU. And we have about 4,000 cases-- hospitalizations per day for kids, and that's really where we're seeing the largest impact. Back to you.

- Anjalee Khemlani. Thanks so much.