Lower COVID-19 booster doses on trial

An upcoming global trial will involve 800 Victorians adminstered with a lower dose of a COVID-19 booster shot.

By Matthew Sims

Sunbury and Macedon Ranges residents who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot are encouraged to take part in an upcoming global trial.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations [CEPI] and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute [MCRI] are leading the trial, which aims to improve access to COVID-19 vaccines and boost their overall quality.

Participants must be aged 18 years and older, live in Victoria and be recipients of two shots of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines.

Under the trial, the 800 participants will receive either a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and then monitored for up to 12 months.

The trial will involve the participants visiting the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne for four blood tests, completing an online diary for seven days post vaccination and receiving three follow-up calls.

MCRI trial lead Professor Kim Mulholland said the finding will provide important data on the potential advantages of vaccinating people with a lower boostage dose, in order to guide future vaccination strategies.

“All countries are struggling with the issue of how best to maintain COVID-19 immunity in their populations,” he said.

“Our trial will specifically examine how best to vaccinate communities with follow-up booster shots and the timings around these subsequent booster doses.”

The trial data could also offer crucial information as to whether fractional doses of COVID-19 vaccines produce fewer side effects in vaccine recipients following administration, which could improve the acceptability of booster doses and as to whether administering heterologous or ‘mix-and-match’ COVID-19 vaccine schedules is advantageous.

CEPI will provide up to $12.3 million in funding towards the global trial, which will be run in collaboration with Padjadjaran University and the University of Indonesia, the Mongolian government and the global non-profit organisation PATH.

Details: www.mcri.edu.au/research/projects/cepi-covid-19-booster-study or COVID.Booster@mcri.edu.au