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COVID-19 booster shot likely needed every 12 months, Pfizer CEO promotes

Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson CEOs say a coronavirus booster shot may be needed every year to keep up with variants.

Updated: April 16, 2021 - 5:44pm

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Recipients of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine will "likely" need a booster shot within 12 months of being fully-vaccinated, the company CEO says.

CEO Albert Bourla said the shot will be similar to an annual flu shot and could come as soon as six months after being vaccinated.

"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, but all of that needs to be confirmed. And again, the variants will play a key role,” Boula told CNBC during an event with CVS Health earlier this month.

If the vaccine is determined to be an annual requirement for protection against the virus, Pfizer could end up making another deal with the federal government to produce mass quantities of the drug, possibly still free to the public. 

"It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus," Bourla said.

Johnson & Johnson has also said recipients of its vaccine may also need an annual booster. Moderna's CEO told CNBC that they hope to have a booster shot for their two-dose vaccine available by the fall.

The Biden administration’s COVID response chief science officer, David Kessler, said this week that Americans should expect to receive a reoccurring dose to continue protection against variants.

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