Pfizer CEO Says This Is Exactly When You'll Need Another COVID Vaccine
The company is already testing a third dose for those who are fully vaccinated.
There are three COVID vaccines currently authorized for emergency use in the United States: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Both Pfizer and Moderna require two separate doses given three to four weeks apart, but just because you only need two doses now doesn't mean you won't require another vaccination down the line. Now, the Pfizer CEO is giving insight into when exactly you will need another COVID vaccine dose. Read on to find out the expected timeline for a third shot, and for more on the Pfizer vaccine, Pfizer Caused This Reaction in Half of Recipients, New Study Says.
Pfizer's CEO says you will likely need a third COVID vaccine dose within 12 months.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on April 15 that people will "likely" need a third booster dose of the COVID vaccine within 12 months of being fully vaccinated, CNBC reported. This is in part because emerging variants of the coronavirus are still a concern—especially in terms of how these mutations may affect the effectiveness of existing vaccines. According to one study published March 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine, Pfizer's current two-dose vaccine was less effective against the P.1 variant from Brazil and the South African variant B.1.351 compared to the original COVID strain. And for more on the future of vaccination, Moderna CEO Says This Is How Often You'll Need A COVID Vaccine.
Pfizer has already started working on a third booster shot.
Pfizer announced on Feb. 25 that the company had started testing a third dose of their COVID vaccine to help boost immune response. According to NBC News, the company had started studying the response, safety, and efficacy of a third booster dose in people who had already received the first two doses of the Pfizer vaccine more than six months prior. The third shot was the same as the first two doses. "We believe that the third dose will raise the antibody response 10- to 20- fold," Bourla said at the time in an interview with NBC News. He also said that the company believes a third dose of the vaccine will boost immune response and help protect against variants. And for more on vaccine efficacy, This One Vaccine May Protect You Against All Variants, New Study Says.
Bourla also said that it's possible the COVID vaccine will need to be administered annually.
There have been many discussions on whether the COVID vaccine will be a one-time process or if people will need a shot every year, like the flu vaccine. Bourla said it's possible that people will need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus every year, either with another dose of the same vaccine, or a tweaked vaccine targeted at a certain strain. "Every year, you need to go to get your flu vaccine. It's going to be the same with COVID," Bourla told NBC News in February. "In a year, you will have to go and get your annual shot for COVID to be protected." And for COVID vaccine news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Pfizer's vaccine is reportedly still highly effective six months after the second dose.
Fortunately, it doesn't appear that your immunity from the Pfizer vaccine will be waning any time soon. On April 1, Pfizer released data from its latest clinical trial, showing that the vaccine is still "highly effective" six months after the second dose. According to the report, researchers for Pfizer analyzed data on over 46,000 trial participants, finding that out of 927 participants who got infected with COVID more than a week after their second dose, only 77 had actually received the vaccine compared to 850 who had received a placebo. This means that Pfizer's vaccine is 91.3 percent effective against cases of symptomatic COVID and 95.3 to 100 percent effective against severe COVID cases six months after people are fully vaccinated. And for more on life after the vaccine, Dr. Fauci Says This Is How You Can Catch COVID Even If You're Vaccinated.