The CEO of Pfizer has said it is “likely” that people will need a third dose of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine within a year of their first shot.
Albert Bourla made the comments to CNBC Correspondent Bertha Coombs during an episode of CVS Health Live on April 15.
“A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a third dose somewhere between six and 12 months, and then from there, there will be an annual revaccination,” Bourla said. “But all of that needs to be confirmed. And again, the variants will play a key role. It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus.”
Bourla likened COVID-19 to the influenza virus, which requires a yearly vaccine, rather than the poliovirus, where “one dose is enough.”
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Recent data from Pfizer data shows that the company’s vaccine offers “very high protection” against coronavirus six months after someone receives a shot. Data on the immunity it offers thereafter, though, is still needed.
Pfizer is on track to produce 2.5 billion vaccine doses this year, Bourla said, noting that the “most important” thing the company can do is increase its manufacturing capacity.
“This is not only about the US. This is about the world,” he said. “In pandemics, you are as protected as your neighbor.”
“[The vaccine’s efficacy] is what makes me optimistic that we will be able to put this thing under control, and that is not in a very long, long distance.”
To date, the US has administered over 166 million COVID-19 vaccines. The country has reported 32,234,365 COVID-19 cases and 579,106 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began.