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A health worker prepares a syringe with the Pfizer/BioNTech ComirnatyCOVID-19 vaccine. Photo: SOPA Images/Getty Images

Pfizer is expected to seek authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to administer a third dose of its coronavirus vaccine to boost immunity and potentially stop the spread of coronavirus variants, according to AP.

Why it matters: Pfizer and BioNTech released the initial results of a study on coronavirus booster shots, finding that a third dose was five to 10 times more effective at neutralizing the virus than two doses.

What they're saying: Pfizer said in a statement the move to seek authorization for a third dose is motivated by "an observed decline in efficacy against symptomatic disease over time" and the emergence of new coronavirus variants, according to ABC News.

  • Pfizer and BioNTech said they're developing an updated version of their coronavirus vaccine based on the Delta variant, which was first discovered in India.

What to watch: They have already begun collecting clinical trial data for the updated vaccine and anticipate starting clinical studies in August, though the companies will need regulator approval before initiating the trials.

The big picture: A new study published in the journal Nature on Thursday found that the Delta variant is able to evade certain antibodies produced by natural infections and vaccines because of mutations to the cell entry mechanisms the virus uses.

  • The researchers also found that one dose of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine "barely" protects against the Delta variant, which is believed to be more transmissible than other versions of the virus.

Editor's note: This story is breaking. Check back for more details.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns — New cases down
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release COVID vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 15, 2021 - Health

State COVID lotteries did not increase vaccination rates, study finds

California Gov. Gavin Newsom at a drawing for the state's Vax for the Win program in June. Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

None of the 19 states that implemented statewide COVID-19 vaccine lotteries this summer saw an increase in vaccination rates as a result of the incentive programs, according to a study published Friday in Jama Health Forum.

Why it matters: The study is the first to examine the effectiveness of 19 state-run lotteries, and offers insight into how governments can better craft incentive-based policies, said Andrew Friedson, one of the study's authors and an associate professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver.

Oct 15, 2021 - Health

Appeals court declines to block Maine vaccine mandate

A health worker prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination. Photo: Camilo Freedman/APhotografia/Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday denied an emergency request to block a COVID-19 vaccine mandate from going into effect in Maine, the Associated Press reports.

Driving the news: The mandate, which Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced in August, requires health care workers in Maine to get vaccinated by Oct. 29 or face losing their jobs.