Vaccine resistance ticked down in September amid overwhelming interest in Covid booster shots, according to the IBD/TIPP Poll. The results could reflect a lengthening runway for vaccine stocks.
The results also come as the Biden administration prepares to roll out booster shots on Sept. 20 for those who’ve received their primary vaccinations from Pfizer (PFE)-BioNTech (BNTX) or Moderna (MRNA).
In a recent interview with CBS News, Dr. Anthony Fauci said a third injection of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will likely come out before Moderna. Fauci heads up the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He’s also a medical advisor to the president.
Pfizer has already turned in its booster-shot data, Fauci said. Before boosters can go, advisors with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will look at the data and made a recommendation on booster shots. That process has to take place for both shots.
So far, the FDA committee is scheduled Sept. 17 to discuss the shot from Pfizer and BioNTech.
“We hope that Moderna would also be able to do it so we could do it simultaneously, but if not, we’ll do it sequentially,” Fauci said. “So, the bottom line is very likely, at least part of the plan will be implemented, but ultimately the entire plan will be.”
Vaccine Stocks Under Pressure
Despite the hype surrounding booster shots, vaccine stocks Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna peaked in mid-August and have since reversed.
But the recent IBD/TIPP Poll points to a growing number of vaccinations in the U.S. The number of fully vaccinated survey respondents increased to 58% vs. 52% in the August poll. Meanwhile, 13% of people each month said they’ve received a single dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.
And vaccine use could also increase with the possibility of booster shots. Of those fully vaccinated in the IBD/TIPP Poll, 86% said they would seek a booster dose in the September poll.
As of now, the Biden administration says it plans to give booster shots eight months after the second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. There hasn’t been a recommendation yet for recipients of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) vaccine.
Vaccine resistance also decreased, another bullish point for vaccine stocks. Less than one-quarter of people, 23%, say they have no plans to get a Covid shot. That’s down from 26% in August, according to the poll.
Of those hesitant to accept a vaccine, the lion’s share, 42%, say they’re concerned about safety or side effects. That’s down from 46% worried about vaccine safety in the August poll.
The numbers also bear out at the CDC. Roughly 176.7 million people in the U.S. have received a full Covid inoculation. That accounts for 53.2% of the U.S. population. More than half of all vaccinations come from vaccine stocks Pfizer and BioNTech. Their shot accounts for 54.3% of all inoculations.
Variants Cause Worry As Delta Spreads
The poll results also come as Covid cases in the U.S. rise amid the delta variant’s spread. Delta is now responsible for close to 99% of cases in the U.S. According to the CDC, this variant spreads much faster than others, though infections only happen in a small portion of fully vaccinated people.
All vaccines remain very effective against severe illness, hospitalization and death, the CDC says. That continues to be a feather in the cap of the major vaccine stocks.
Still, a growing number of Americans expressed concern that variants would worsen the pandemic in the U.S., according to the IBD/TIPP Poll. Nearly eight in 10 people, 79%, were concerned about the viral mutations, up slightly from 77% in August.
Support for employer vaccine mandates also remained at a standstill month over month with 64% in support and 29% opposing.
Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.
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