Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said people will likely need a third COVID vaccine shot within a year of being fully vaccinated. He also added it’s possible people will need to get vaccinated yearly.
“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, but all of that needs to be confirmed. And again, the variants will play a key role,” Bourla told CNBC’s Bertha Coombs during an event with CVS Health.
“It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus,” Bourla added.
Researchers still don’t know how long the protection for each vaccine will last. Pfizer said their vaccine is 91% effective at protecting against the coronavirus and 95% effective against severe disease for up to six months. Moderna’s vaccine, which uses similar technology, is shown to be highly effective for six months.
David Kessler, the Biden administration’s COVID response chief officer said Americans should expect to receive booster shots to fight against COVID variants and that while current vaccines are highly effective, variants could lower their effectiveness.
Coronavirus variants based in the United Kingdom and Brazil have been discovered in the U.S. The White House announced Friday it will spend more than $1.7 billion in funding to assist the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention track and fight coronavirus variants.
“We are studying the durability of the antibody response,” Kessler told a House Select Subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic. “It seems strong but there is some warning of that and no doubt the variants challenge … they make these vaccines work harder. So I think for planning purposes, planning purposes only, I think we should expect that we may have to boost.”
The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 32 million Americans and killed more than 579,000 Americans. The pandemic has also exposed deep systemic issues in almost every aspect of life including healthcare, jobs, savings, and the ability to obtain credit.