The CEO of Pfizer says people will likely need a third dose of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine within a year of being fully vaccinated.
“It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus,” Albert Bourla told CNBC on Thursday.
The pharmaceutical chief said it’s also possible that people will need to get inoculated every year against coronavirus.
“The likely scenario is there be a likely need for a third dose, somewhere between six and 12 months,” Mr Bourla said.
“And from there, there will be an annual vaccination. But all of that needs to be confirmed. And again, the variants will play a key role.”
Earlier this month, Pfizer and partner BioNTech said their vaccine was about 91 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19, citing updated trial data that included more than 12,000 people fully inoculated for at least six months.
Pfizer had said as early as February that it was testing booster shots in case it was determined they would be needed.
The latest advice could create complications for Australia’s plans for the Pfizer jab, with only 40 millions doses secured.
About 1.3 million Australians have so far been vaccine with the AstraZeneca jab, as the government has struggled to secure supplies against European constraints.
The difficulties come amid an investigation into the death of a 48-year-old woman who developed blood clotting soon after receiving a AstraZeneca COVID-19 jab.
But early tests indicated there was no conclusive link to the vaccine and in a statement last night, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) pointed out common blood clots occur in around 50 Australians every day.
“The blood clotting disorders being investigated in connection with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are very rare and differ from common blood clots,” the statement said.
“[It] has been confirmed in only two cases out of over 700,000 people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia.
Moderna, the competitor whose vaccine uses a similar so-called messenger RNA platform as Pfizer’s, has also said it is testing booster shots.
Doctors are asking the media be much more cautious in the way blood clot cases are reported in people who have received COVID-19 vaccines, warning public confidence in the program is being undermined.
They fear some reporting risks unnecessarily scaring vulnerable parts of the community.