According to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, immunization against COVID-19 may require annual shots. In a taped interview last April 1, Bourla said people will likely need a booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated.
“There are vaccines like polio, that one dose is enough, and there are vaccines like flu that you need every year. The COVID virus looks more like the influenza virus than the poliovirus,” Bourla said.
Annual Shots For COVID-19 Vaccination
“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,” said Bourla during a CVS event. “It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus,” he added.
Bourla’s comments follow the view of Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky, In a CNBC interview last February, he said people may need annual shots against Covid-19. It’s just like seasonal flu shots.
Researchers Still Don’t Know How Long Protection Lasts
Given the rapid pace of development of COVID-19 vaccines, researchers still don’t know how long protection against the virus lasts. Pfizer said earlier this month that its Covid-19 vaccine reported a 91% effective rate at protecting against the coronavirus.
In addition, it offered more than 95% effectiveness against severe disease up to six months after the second dose.
While Pfizer’s data came from around 12,000 vaccinated participants, researchers need more data to determine the duration of protection. Meanwhile, Moderna’s vaccine, using similar technology, also showed high effectiveness at six months.
Americans Should Expect Booster Shots
Earlier Thursday, Covid response chief science officer, David Kessler, said Americans should expect to receive booster shots to protect against coronavirus variants. Kessler told US lawmakers that currently authorized vaccines offer high protection.
However, he warned that new variants could challenge the effectiveness of the shots. “We don’t know everything at this moment,” he told the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
“We are studying the durability of the antibody response. It seems strong but there is some waning of that, “ he said. “No doubt the variants challenge … they make these vaccines work harder. So I think for planning purposes…we should expect that we may have to boost,” Kessler added.
Testing The Third Dose
Joint developers Pfizer and BioNTech announced the testing of the third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine is underway. This can help better understand the immune response against new variants of the virus. Meanwhile, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said Wednesday that the company hopes to have a booster shot for its two-dose vaccine available in the fall.
Also late last month, the National Institutes of Health began testing a new Covid vaccine from Moderna. This is in addition to the existing Moderna variant. The new version aims to protect patients from a problematic COVID-19 variant first found in South Africa.
Watch the TODAY show featuring Dr. Vin Gupta: Expect COVID-19 Booster Shots To Be Annual:
What do you think about the possibility of an annual shot for coronavirus? Do you think it’s necessary at this point?
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