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Pfizer CEO says third vaccine dose may be needed, plus annual booster jab

Pfizer’s chief executive has said that it is “likely” that a booster jab will be required as early as 6 months after an individual is “fully vaccinated”, and that annual booster jabs may be necessary – a development that could put even greater strain on the global vaccine supply.

“A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a third dose, somewhere between 6 and 12 months, and then from there, there will be an annual re-vaccination. But all of that needs to be confirmed,” said company CEO Albert Bourla in an interview with CNBC.

“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.,” he added.

Last week Pfizer announced that it had applied for “emergency use” authorisation with the FDA so that children aged 12 and over in the US can be given the company’s vaccine.

Additionally, the Biden administration is preparing for the scenario that fully vaccinated individuals will need a third dose of COVID-19 jab within a year.

“I think we should expect that we may have to boost, and probably have to boost again,”said David Kessler, chief science officer on US President Joe Biden’s covid-19 response team.

“No decision, but the current thinking is that certainly, those who are more vulnerable may have to go first,” he told congress, adding that a third booster jab may be needed 9 months to a year after receiving the first two doses.

“We are preparing for that,” he said.

He explained that it was expected that the immunity offered by vaccines would weaken over time, and that new viral strains would force the vaccine to “work harder” to fend off disease.

If eligibility for the vaccine programme is extended to children, and a third dose is required by health authorities, billions more vaccines will need to be purchased and administered, significantly delaying the vaccine rollout.

Europe continues to lag behind the rest of the world in terms of its vaccine program, with many scheduled deliveries failing to arrive on time and being suspended over blood clotting concerns.

 

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