Pfizer’s chief executive says people will likely need a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine within 12 months of being fully inoculated and may need to receive annual boosters.
“There will probably be a need for a third dose somewhere between six and 12 months, and then from there there will be an annual revaccination,” Albert Bourla said in an interview with CVS Health released Thursday.
As the United States continues to vaccinate millions of people a day, attention has turned to a safe exit from the pandemic and the extent to which annual vaccinations similar to influenza vaccines will be needed to keep the virus under long-term control.
Bourla’s comments came as U.S. health officials testified before Congress on how to control the spread of the virus after the pandemic subsides.
David Kessler, scientific director of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told a congressional committee: “I think we should expect that we have to get stronger. . . and the current view is that those who are most vulnerable may have to come first. “
Latest news on coronaviruses
Follow FT’s live coverage and analysis of the global pandemic and rapidly evolving economic crisis here.
“But I think you have that with many vaccines, we understand that at some point we have to increase, whether it is nine months, 12 months, and we are preparing for that,” he added.
Earlier this month, data from Pfizer and BioNTech showed that their mRNA vaccine was 91% effective against the virus six months after the second dose.
“The protection decreases over time, but still within six months it’s extremely, extremely high,” Bourla said.
In February, the two companies began testing a third injection of their vaccine on fully vaccinated individuals six to 12 months after their second injection, to understand the effect of a booster on immunity and against new strains of the vaccine. virus.
the BioNTech / Pfizer jab is the most used vaccine in the United States, with nearly 103 million doses administered to date, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fully vaccinated individuals account for 38.3 million of these doses.
Earlier this week, Bourla said on Twitter that Pfizer could meet its 300 million dose supply target with the U.S. government two weeks ahead of schedule thanks to increased production.
His CVS interview was filmed some time ago, Pfizer said, before the Johnson & Johnson vaccine rolled out. paused across the United States due to fear of blood clots.
The rollout of the single-injection vaccine, which is the least widely administered in the United States, has been suspended for at least a week by experts from the United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices as they investigate six cases of clots rare blood, which leads to death.