Within 12 months of being completely vaccinated, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla believes it is “likely” that people will need a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Except for Johnson & Johnson, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, like most other COVID-19 vaccines, needs two shots. People would need to get vaccinated against the coronavirus every year, according to Bourla, but, likely, they’d only need one more shot rather than two.
“We need to see what would be the sequence, and for how often we need to do that, that remains to be seen,” said Bourla. “A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a third dose, somewhere between six and 12 months, and then from there, there will be annual revaccination, but all of that needs to be confirmed. And again, the variants will play a key role.”
He went on to say that it’s “extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus.” His remarks come after Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorksy suggested in February that people would need to be vaccinated regularly, similar to how seasonal flu shots are administered.
According to researchers, it’s unknown how long a person’s defense against the virus lasts once they’ve been completely vaccinated.
Americans should expect booster shots to help protect them against any potential strains of the novel coronavirus, according to David Kessler, the Biden administration’s COVID-19 response chief scientific officer. He explained that the plethora of new variants threatens to “challenge” the shots’ effectiveness. “We don’t know everything at this moment.…We are studying the durability of the antibody response.”
Pfizer and BioNTech had previously stated that testing for the third dose of their vaccine was underway to better understand how the immune system combats new variants. According to CNBC, Moderna announced on Wednesday that it hopes to have a booster shot for its vaccine available by the fall.