Pfizer CEO: Vaccine third dose ‘likely’ needed within 12 months

The head of Pfizer said that people will likely need a third dose of his companys COVID-19 vaccine among the priciest on the market within a year of being fully vaccinated.CEO Albert Bourla also said annual vaccinations against the coronavirus may well be required.
“We need to see what would be the sequence, and for how often we need to do that, that remains to be seen,” Bourla told CNBC in an interview recorded on April 1.
“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,” he said, adding that variants will play a “key role.”
“It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus,” he said.
Researchers currently don’t know how long vaccines provide protection against the coronavirus.
Pfizer published a study earlier this month that said its jab is more than 91 per cent effective at protecting against the coronavirus, and more than 95 per cent effective against severe cases of COVID-19 up to six months after the second dose.
But researchers say more data is needed to determine whether protection lasts after six months.
David Kessler, the head of US President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 response team, warned a congressional committee on Thursday that Americans should expect to receive booster shots to defend against coronavirus variants.
“We don’t know everything at this moment,” he told the House Coronavirus Crisis Subcommittee. “We are studying the durability of the antibody response.
“It seems strong but there is some waning of that and no doubt the variants challenge,” he said.
“I think for planning purposes, planning purposes only, I think we should expect that we may have to boost.”
The Pfizer vaccine, developed in partnership with German firm BioNTech, currently plays a leading role in American and European vaccination campaigns.
The pharmaceutical giant announced in February that it was testing a third dose of its vaccine to better combat the emerging variants.
Pfizer defends high cost of vaccine
The head of Pfizer said the company’s vaccine is no more expensive than the cost of a meal and will not be sold to poor countries for a profit.
The head of the US-based company defended the cost of the jabs, which he said are saving lives and can help countries emerge from the pandemic.
“Vaccines are very expensive,” Mr Bourla said in an interview with several media.
“They save human lives, they allow economies to reopen, but we sell them at the price of a meal,” he said in the interview with Les Echos in France, Germany’s Handelsblatt, Italy’s Corriere Della Sera and El Mundo in Spain.
Developed jointly with Germany-based BioNTech, the Pfizer vaccine is, along with Moderna, the vaccine that has cost the European Union the most, according to data released several months ago by a member of the Belgian government.
And Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov warned earlier this week that Brussels was facing a huge price hike as it negotiates nearly two billion additional doses of the vaccine for the coming years.