Written by Dr. K. on 14 June 2021.
- People will “likely” require a third dose of a Covid-19 Vaccine within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated, according to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.
- Individuals may need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus on an annual basis.
- Vaccine booster shots are commonly used for Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Whooping Cough, among others.
Within 12 months of being completely vaccinated, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla anticipates that patients will require a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. According to Bourla, individuals may need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus on an annual basis.
“A likely scenario is that a third dose will be needed, somewhere between six and twelve months later, followed by annual revaccination, but all of that needs to be confirmed. During an event with CVS Health, he told CNBC’s Bertha Coombs that “variants will play a crucial role." “Suppressing the pool of persons who may be infected with the virus is critical,” Bourla added.
The remark comes after Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky told CNBC in February 2021 that Covid-19 vaccinations may be required on an annual basis, similar to seasonal vaccinations.
COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and effective in preventing severe cases globally. Because both the virus and the vaccines against it are new, it’s unclear how long that protection will last. Breakthrough infections, which occur in patients who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, are becoming more common. The majority of patients are asymptomatic, and their illnesses are only detected by routine testing.
Researchers are evaluating how the vaccines perform and if additional doses will be necessary to maintain meaningful immunity as variations of the new coronavirus continue to spread and mutate. They are also still unsure how long a person’s immunity against the virus lasts after being fully vaccinated.
Pfizer said earlier in April 2021 that its Covid-19 vaccine was more than 91% effective against the coronavirus and more than 95% effective against severe sickness six months after the second dose. At six months, Moderna’s vaccine, which utilizes similar technology to Pfizer’s, has also demonstrated to be very efficacious.
Pfizer’s data was collected from over 12,000 people who were vaccinated. More data is needed, however, to see whether the protection lasts longer than six months, according to the researchers.
According to David Kessler, the Biden administration’s Covid response chief scientific officer, approved vaccines are highly protective, but new variants might “threaten” the vaccinations’ efficacy.
Kessler added that Americans could anticipate booster doses to defend against coronavirus variations. “We’re looking at how long the antibody response lasts,” he said. “It seems to be powerful, although there is some waning, and the variants will undoubtedly pose a problem. They make it more difficult for these vaccines to function. As a result, I believe we can anticipate having to increase for planning reasons only.”
Pfizer and BioNTech announced in February 2021 that they were evaluating a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine to better understand the immune response to novel virus variants.
The National Institutes of Health began testing a new Covid vaccine from Moderna late in March 2021, in addition to the one it already has, to protect against a dangerous variant initially discovered in South Africa. Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC that the business plans to produce a booster shot for its two-dose vaccination later this year.
Common Booster Vaccines
Boosters for many other common vaccinations are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Every ten years, for example, a booster for the Tdap vaccination, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, is recommended. Travelers to countries with high hepatitis A levels should have a booster vaccine 12 months after their initial dosage.
In March 2021, a group of Australian researchers presented research that looked at titer, or the concentration of protective antibodies, to determine how long COVID-19 vaccination protection lasted. They discovered that protection declined 250 days after vaccination, predicting a “significant loss” in protection, “although protection against severe illness should be largely retained.”
Vaccines are designed to guard against dangerous infections that might lead to hospitalisation or even death.
According to Dr. Stephen Russell, CEO and co-founder of Imanis Life Sciences, a Rochester, Minnesota-based business that develops COVID-19 antibody testing, a fully vaccinated individual might be protected for up to a year. That protection might be lost in as little as three months. “It is consequently extremely difficult to identify the appropriate timing of booster doses without specific information about the peak neutralising antibody titer and its rate of decrease in a particular individual,” he added.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, according to Dr Russell, tend to elicit the greatest neutralising antibody titers, followed by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccinations. But, he said, “different vaccines work in different ways, and it’s still possible to develop a COVID-19 vaccine that provides long-term immunity”.
“Most of us have received childhood immunizations like measles, mumps, and rubella, which often result in lifetime immunity,” Dr Russell said, “but they employ live replicating viruses, which may remain far longer than mRNA vaccinations and hence produce a greater, more lasting immune response.”
For the time being, there isn’t enough data to imply that existing vaccinations can’t keep up with the current variants of novel coronavirus.