COVID vaccine makers want authorization for second booster shot

After two COVID shots and a booster, drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna are now seeking government authorization for a fourth, or second booster. The reaction from a pandemic-weary public in the South Bay is mixed.

"I just think they’re pushing too many boosters on us, in my opinion," said one woman, who wished not to provide her name.

"I have nothing against it. We’re getting vaccinated regardless. So it just comes down to, if you think it’s going to help on your end?" said Mario Solis.

And Marlene Salinas, who was eating lunch at San Pedro Square Thursday said, "Honestly, I already have the booster. Why do you need a fourth one? I mean everyone’s not talking about COVID now. Everyone has their mask down. So I really don’t see a need."

RELATED: Moderna says its low-dose COVID shots work for kids under 6; will seek federal approval

Experts said declining vaccine effectiveness could make the fourth time the true charm.

Moderna’s emergency use authorization would cover people 65 and older. Pfizer seeks blanket coverage.

"Clearly if you’re immune-compromised, you’re old, you may want that fourth booster and it may be necessary. But I think the jury is still out a little bit on how effective that fourth shot is for the time and the cost," said Dr. Mark Schwartz, a biotechnologist at San Jose State University.

Experts are debating if the benefits of a fourth dose, producing marginal enhancement, are really needed —  even with the emergence of various variants, such as Omicron BA.2-A.

"We usually have never boosted anyone to prevent mild infections," said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious diseases expert at UC San Francisco. "What we will determine in the future for who needs fourth, or even more doses, are your susceptibility to more breakthrough infections."

Others point to the push to maximize profits as another force behind drug-makers plans.

"Drug companies as a matter of course continue to explore all opportunities for the benefit of any drug that they have," said Schwartz.

The FDA holds a meeting on Apr. 6 to listen to the two proposals. If one or both are given the green light, the next step would be the CDC’s stamp of approval, coming possibly as soon as the end of April.