Pfizer vaccine will likely require THIRD dose within 12 months of getting vaccinated, CEO says

PFIZER’S boss has said he thinks it is “likely” people will need a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Albert Bourla, 59, said a potential booster shot would be administered six to 12 months after someone had been fully vaccinated.

Speaking at a panel discussion hosted by CNBC in conjunction with CVS Health recorded on April 1, he added he thought it was possible people will need to be immunized against coronavirus annually.

“There are vaccines that are like polio that one dose is enough…and there are vaccines like flu than you need every year,” he said in the segment, aired on Wednesday.

“The Covid virus looks more like the influenza virus than the polio virus.”

Pfizer, along with its German partner BioNTech started studying a third dose of their vaccine in late February.

The booster shot is designed to protecting against future variants, which may prove to be better at evading antibodies from the vaccine than earlier strains.

Around 144 volunteers will be given a third dose, with the volunteers coming mostly from those who participated in the vaccine’s early-stage trials in the US last year.

The Pfizer vaccine uses part of the pathogen’s genetic code called messenger RNA (mRNA) to get the body to recognize the coronavirus and attack it when a person becomes infected.

The mRNA encodes for all of the spike protein found on the outside of the virus that it uses to enter and infect cells.

Pfizer said earlier this month its Covid-19 vaccine was more than 91 per cent effective at protecting against Covid and more than 95 per cent effective against severe disease up to six months after the second dose. 

The Biden administration’s Covid response chief science officer David Kessler said Thursday Americans should expect to receive booster shots to protect against coronavirus variants.

Kessler told US lawmakers the vaccines which were currently authorized were highly effective but warned new variants could "challenge" the protectiveness of the shots, CNBC reported.

“We don’t know everything at this moment,” he told the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

“We are studying the durability of the antibody response,” he said. “It seems strong but there is some waning of that and no doubt the variants challenge … they make these vaccines work harder. So I think for planning purposes, planning purposes only, I think we should expect that we may have to boost.”

The news comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed Covid's grip on the world was far from over because new variants were causing a surge in cases.

WHO special envoy Dr David Nabarro said new variants will be a "regular" occurrence while the virus is still prevalent around the world.

Addressing Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh he said:

"The pandemic is nowhere near finished.

"Each week we have seen four and a half million cases being reported and know those are an enormous underestimate.

"And we are still seeing a really significant number of deaths – nearly three million.

"What I want to stress is that the pandemic is surging forward everywhere.”


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