Pfizer and BioNTech are developing a COVID-19 booster shot intended to target the highly transmissible Delta variant.
With the increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Louisiana, health experts believed the more contagious Delta variant is established in the state with higher vulnerability among the unvaccinated.
Over the last week, cases have increased by 3,360 in Louisiana, the biggest spike since March 4. Cases have more than doubled over the last 14 days. Health experts said this was likely an effect of the Delta variant making its way into unvaccinated hosts.
"Across the country, the spike will be bigger in the areas that have lower vaccination rates, which unfortunately is us and a number of our neighboring states," Joe Kanter, assistant secretary of health, said.
With one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, Louisiana residents have a higher risk for coronavirus infection. Just 39 percent of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine.
On Thursday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced they are developing a COVID-19 booster shot intended to target the highly transmissible Delta variant. These companies believe a third shot of their current two-dose vaccine has the potential to preserve the "highest levels" of protection against all currently known variants, including Delta, but they are "remaining vigilant" and developing an updated version of the vaccine.
"These findings are consistent with an ongoing analysis from the companies' Phase 3 study," the companies said in a statement. "That is why we have said, and we continue to believe that it is likely, based on the totality of the data we have to date, that a third dose may be needed within 6 to 12 months after full vaccination."
Clinical studies could begin as early as August, subject to regulatory approvals. Pfizer and BioNTech have said people will likely need a booster shot, or third dose, within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated because they expect vaccine-induced immunity to wane over time.