Third Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine dose ‘likely’ needed within year, CEO says

Those who completed the two-dose regimen for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine will likely need a third shot within 12 months, CEO Albert Bourla said.

There is also a chance people will need to receive an annual COVID-19 vaccine thereafter, he said.


"It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus," Bourla told CNBC’s Bertha Coombs in a CVS Health Live event, "Race to Vaccinate." 

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Pfizer recently announced updated results indicating its vaccine was highly effective up to six months after the second dose, with findings stemming from over 12,000 participants in a late-stage trial. Findings included a 91.3% vaccine efficacy against COVID-19, and over 95% efficacy against severe disease.

In February, the company began testing whether a third shot could offer greater protection against emerging strains of the virus, like the concerning strain first detected in South Africa. The recent data released also included findings from 800 participants in South Africa, and nine COVID-19 cases occurred, all in the placebo group.


"None of the 400 vaccinated got infected, very very good news," Bourla said. Based on the data, the CEO said there was a need for re-vaccination between six and 12 months and also an annual re-vaccination.

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However, this needs to be confirmed, Bourla said.

"There are vaccines that’s like polio that one dose is enough, there are vaccines like pneumococcal vaccine that one dose is enough for adults and there are vaccines like flu that you need every year," Bourla said. "The Covid virus looks more like the influenza virus than the polio virus."