People who have received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are “likely” to need a third dose sometime within a year after being fully vaccinated.
“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 an annual revaccination,” CEO Albert Bourla said during an online event on April 15.
“But all of that needs to be confirmed. And again, the variants will play a key role,” he said. “We need to see what would be the sequence, and for how often we need to do that, that remains to be seen.”
Bourla also said it “is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus.”
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one. U.S. health agencies this week recommended a pause in administering the J&J vaccine after several reports of blood clots out of millions of vaccinations.
J&J CEO Alex Gorsky several weeks ago suggested that people will have to get COVID-19 shots annually, similar to seasonal flu shots. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Pfizer and BioNTech, meanwhile, said earlier this month that their vaccine is 91 percent effective through at least six months.
“These data also provide the first clinical results that a vaccine can effectively protect against currently circulating variants, a critical factor to reach herd immunity and end this pandemic for the global population,” BioNTech co-founder and CEO Ugur Sahin said in a statement at the time.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in an interview on April 14 that the firm is aiming to have a booster shot, or a third dose, available in the fall.
The United States is tracking infections in people who have been fully vaccinated, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, told a House subcommittee hearing on April 15.
Of 77 million people vaccinated in the United States, there have been 5,800 such “breakthrough infections,” Walensky said, including 396 people who required hospitalization and 74 who died.
Walensky said some of these infections have occurred because the vaccinated person didn’t mount a strong immune response. But the concern is that in some cases, they’re occurring in people infected by more contagious virus variants.
Reuters contributed to this report.