New York Daily News: MANHATTAN, NY – Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla predicted Thursday that people who have received the company’s COVID vaccine will “likely” need a third booster shot within a year to maintain protection against the virus.
“It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus,” Bourla told CNBC.
The pharmaceutical chief said it’s also possible that people will need to get inoculated every year against coronavirus.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines already required two separate shots a few weeks apart.
Pfizer had said as early as February that it was testing booster shots in case it was determined they would be needed.
Moderna, the competitor whose vaccine uses a similar so-called messenger RNA platform as Pfizer’s, has also said it’s testing booster shots.
Pfizer says the vaccine is about 90 percent effective at preventing serious illness from COVID-19.
Tens of millions of Americans have already received one or both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, meaning it has already likely saved untold thousands of lives.
Drugmakers concede that they don’t really know how long the vaccine’s protection against the virus will last. Doctors do ongoing sampling tests to determine whether vaccinated people still have high levels of the antibodies that fight COVID-19 in their bodies.
Public health officials also say it’s very possible that booster shots will be needed to protect people against more contagious variants of COVID-19 that have already surfaced around the world and other strains that will almost certainly appear in the future.