Pfizer CEO Says Third Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine ‘Likely’ Needed Within A Year

(Screenshot - Twitter/The Recount)

Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said during an April 1 event with CVS Health that people will “likely” need a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within 12 months of being fully vaccinated, according to comments made public Thursday.

“A likely scenario is there will be likely a need for a third dose somewhere between six and 12 months,” he told CNBC’s Bertha Coombs at the event. Bourla also suggested people would need to receive booster shots every year, though he said it “remains to be seen” how often additional vaccines might be required.

“But all of that needs to be confirmed and again the variants will play a key role,” he said. “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 are still unsure how long protection against COVID-19 lasts once someone has been fully vaccinated.

Pfizer and BioNTech said in a statement April 1 that their two-dose vaccine was more than 91% effective at protecting against COVID-19 up to six months after the second dose. Clinical trials showed the vaccine was also “highly effective” at protecting against the U.K. variant.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official Peter Marks said Tuesday that COVID-19 vaccines such as the one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech would likely provide protection for at least nine months, CNN reported. But Marks also suggested that booster shoots may be needed in the future. (RELATED: If You Had COVID, One Dose Of The Pfizer Vaccine May Be Enough, Studies Suggest)

“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 said.

David Kessler, who President Joe Biden tapped to lead federal vaccination efforts, told lawmakers during a hearing Thursday that people “should expect” to get booster shots, noting that officials “don’t know everything at this moment.”