Patients receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will “likely” need a third dose within the year, said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Thursday.
The bad news comes days after federal vaccination sites stopped administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to a small number of recipients developing life-threatening blood clots known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which already requires two doses, was lauded as the premier COVID shot due to an estimated effectiveness of 95%. Earlier this month, Pfizer officials claimed that immunity to the virus remained at 91% 6 months after the second dose was administered.
This week, Bourla said we may need annual vaccines to preserve herd immunity.
“There will likely be a need for a third dose somewhere between 6 and 12 months and then from there, there would be an annual revaccination,” Bourla told CNBC’s Bertha Coombs. He added that coronavirus variants are likely to affect the required frequency of vaccination. “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.”
Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci and other officials have acknowledged the possibility that we may need annual booster shots to maintain immunity.
Based on the data we have now, the immunity gained from COVID-19 vaccines is expected to last “at least nine months,” said Peter Marks, an executive director with the FDA. “It is possible…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.”
Author’s Note: Considering Pfizer’s blatant political bias, the requirement for a third dose could be a money grab in cooperation with the Biden Administration.