Pfizer’s Greek CEO, Albert Bourla, says third Covid vaccine dose likely needed within 12 months

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The head of Pfizer has said that people will “likely” need a third dose of his company’s COVID-19 shot within six to 12 months of vaccination, while defending the relatively higher cost of the jab.

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 broadcaster CNBC in an interview aired on Thursday.

“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.”

Researchers currently do not know how long vaccines provide protection against the coronavirus.

Earlier this month, Pfizer published a study that said its jab is more than 91-percent effective at protecting against the coronavirus and more than 95-percent 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.

In Australia, the Pfizer vaccine is preferred over the AstraZeneca vaccine in adults aged less than 50 years following confirmation of a “rare but serious risk” of fatal blood clots.

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