By Jared S. Hopkins
Pfizer Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE +1.00% Chief Executive Albert Bourla said it is likely that people who receive Covid-19 vaccines will need booster shots within a year afterward, and then annual vaccinations, to maintain protection against the virus as it evolves.
“The variants will play a key role. It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus,” Bourla said during a virtual event hosted by CVS Health Corp. /zigman2/quotes/209664499/composite CVS +1.68% that aired Thursday but was recorded April 1.
“There are vaccines like polio where one dose is enough,” Bourla said. “And there are vaccines like flu that you need every year. The Covid virus looks more like the influenza virus than the polio virus.”
More research is required to confirm the need for annual booster shots, Bourla said. But he added that the need appeared likely given research so far.
The chief executive’s comments come as the U.S. and other countries race to vaccinate as many people as possible and try to stay ahead of any variants that could evade the shots.
Researchers still don’t know how long protection lasts from any of the Covid-19 vaccines, although they are studying the issue. New shots or boosters might be necessary, vaccine experts say, if the virus mutates significantly enough.