Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla on Thursday said that Covid-19 vaccine recipients will “likely” need a third dose between six to 12 months after they’re fully vaccinated and suggested vaccinations for coronavirus could be needed every year.
According to The Hill, Bourla made these remarks while speaking to CNBC’s Bertha Coombs at a CVS Health event that he predicts based on current data a “likely scenario” will involve the Covid-19 vaccine being Bourla said it “remains to be seen” how often any potential additional vaccines would be provided.
“A likely scenario is there will be likely a need for a third dose somewhere between six and 12 months and then from there would be an annual revaccination,” he said at the event, as cited by The Hill. “But all of that needs to be confirmed and again the variants will play a key role,” he continued and added: “It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus because they are vaccinated with high-efficacy vaccines.”
Researchers currently don’t know how long vaccines provide protection against the coronavirus.
Pfizer published a study earlier this month that said its jab is more than 91 percent effective at protecting against the coronavirus, and more than 95 percent effective against severe cases of Covid-19 up to six months after the second dose.
But researchers say more data is needed to determine whether protection lasts after six months.
He said the six months of data shows “extremely, extremely high” protection from Covid-19, noting that protection still “goes down by time.”
Health officials have previously raised the possibility that the public may need booster Covid-19 shots. According to The Hill, Pfizer and BioNTech said earlier this year they were testing the third dose of their vaccine against the Covid-19 variants that have spread worldwide.
Peter Marks, the director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said during an American Medical Association webinar that officials think protection is “probably going to last at least nine months.”
“It is possible, we don’t know for sure, that somewhere at nine months, a year, we may need to have boosters, but we’ll get a better sense of that, probably with each month we’ll get more certainty about when that might be necessary,” he added.
The Pfizer vaccine, developed in partnership with German firm BioNTech, currently plays a leading role in American and European vaccination campaigns.
The pharmaceutical giant announced in February that it was testing a third dose of its vaccine to better combat the emerging variants.
And Bourla said Thursday the company was working on a new formula that would allow the vaccine to be stored for four to six months at a normal temperature, rather than the minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit) or below currently required.