Johnson & Johnson CEO Predicts Annual COVID-19 Vaccines Will Be Necessary For Foreseeable Future

(Screenshot/CNBC Healthy Returns)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said Tuesday that people may need an annual COVID-19 vaccine for years to come due to the evolving variants of the virus.

“Every time it mutates … that can have an impact on its ability to fend of antibodies or to have a different kind of response not only to a therapeutic but also to a vaccine,” Gorsky said to Meg Tirrell of CNBC. Johnson & Johnson is currently awaiting emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The company’s vaccine only requires one dose and can be stored at refrigerated temperatures, granting it an advantage over the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines currently being distributed. Those vaccines also must be kept frozen and expire within hours of being removed from cold storage, complicating the logistics of distribution. (RELATED: WHO Panel Says COVID Lab Leak Theory ‘Extremely Unlikely,’ Not Worth Exploring Further)

The Johnson & Johnson shot was 100% effective at preventing death in clinical trials and 85% effective in preventing serious cases of COVID-19 that required hospitalization. Overall, its efficacy was 72%, although that rate fell when tested against certain mutations of the virus such as the South African strain.