We Could Be Getting COVID Booster Shots As Early As This Fall

by Madison Vanderberg
hiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty

Everything we currently know about booster shots for the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-91 vaccines

Since the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine, talk of a “booster” shot always loomed on the horizon. Now, news from both Pfizer and Moderna is coming out and all signs point towards booster shots. For Pfizer, the CEO says the third shot would likely occur before you hit your one-year mark and Moderna is readying a batch of booster shots ready to go into arms as early as this fall. The data is still being studied and these are not mandates, yet, but here’s what you need to know about the upcoming booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer is looking at a third dose “between six and 12 months” after your second dose.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said people will “likely” need a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated and that you may have to get vaccinated annually, like a flu shot.

“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,” he told CNBC on April 1, 2021, though the interview was not made public until April 15.

Moderna is looking at a booster shot that would be ready to administer in Fall of 2021.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel did not specify the time-line from second dose to third dose, but did tell CNBC on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 that the company hopes to have a third booster shot available in the fall and judging by her comments, it seems like they intend to get those shots into arms during that fall.

“I want to make sure there are boost vaccines available in the fall so that we protect people as we go into the next fall and winter season in the U.S.,” Bancel said. “Our goal is to work really hard to get this ready before the fall.”

Johnson and Johnson has suggested that COVID-19 vaccines would need to be received annually.

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky has not given as many details as the other pharmaceutical CEOs, but told CNBC in February that people may need to get vaccinated against Covid-19 annually.

In each of the cases, data and studies concerning these “booster” or annual shots are currently underway and more information will be known in time.

Dr. Fauci has echoed these statements as well, explaining why we don’t know exactly when the booster shots are needed.

Currently, there is not enough real world data to know when the antibodies from the vaccine start to wane, which Fauci explains is why we don’t have a hard and fast deadline for the booster shots yet. Currently, the vaccines maintain antibody levels for at least six months.

“The way to get the answer is to just follow people closely enough to determine when that level of efficacy or protection diminishes, both with regard to the level of the antibodies as well as clinical data with regard to breakthrough infections,” Fauci told MSNBC on April 12, 2021. “If it turns out [the vaccine’s effects last] a year or a year and a half, we very well may need to get booster shots to keep up the level of protection.”