Ashley Dever, a sophomore at Barry University, receives a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at the Jackson Memorial Hospital on April 15, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Jackson Memorial Hospital began a vaccination initiative with all the colleges/universities in Miami-Dade County, in which all students will be able to get the vaccine, as long as they show a valid student ID and a license. Universities and colleges across the country will be deciding if they will mandate students returning to campus be vaccinated.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said today that people will “likely” need a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated, CNBC reports.

Bourla said: “We need to see what would be the sequence, and for how often we need to do that, that remains to be seen. 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. And again, the variants will play a key role.”

Researchers still are not sure how long protection against the virus lasts once someone has been fully vaccinated.

Per CNBC, Pfizer and BioNTech said in February they were testing a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine to better understand the immune response against new variants of the virus.

Though Pfizer said earlier this month that its COVID-19 vaccine was more than 91% effective at protecting against the coronavirus and more than 95% effective against severe disease up to six months after the second dose, their data was based on about 12,000 vaccinated participants. Researchers say more data is needed to determine whether their protection statistics lasts more than six months. Moderna’s vaccine, which uses technology similar to Pfizer’s, was also shown to be highly effective at six months.

Earlier today the Biden administration’s Covid response chief science officer, David Kessler, said Americans should expect to receive booster shots to protect against coronavirus variants.

Kessler told U.S. lawmakers that currently authorized vaccines are highly protective but noted new variants could “challenge” how effective the shots will be.

He said, “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 … they make these vaccines work harder. So I think for planning purposes, planning purposes only, I think we should expect that we may have to boost.”

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told yesterday that the company hopes to have a booster shot for its two-dose vaccine available in the fall.

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