The vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, which is administered in two doses, will require a third dose after nine months, ideally up to twelve months – at the latest – from the second injection. A new dose will be needed to consolidate protection against the coronavirus.
This was explained by Dr. Ugur Sahin, co-founder of BioNTech, during a virtual meeting with accredited foreign correspondents in Germany. The possibility of a third prick had been anticipated weeks ago, but has finally been confirmed.
In addition, a new booster dose of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine will be needed every year or every eighteen months. “The protection gradually lessens over time,” he said during the meeting. “We have data indicating that at six months protection drops from 95% to 91%. At eight months the antibodies diminish, that’s why the third dose is necessary.”
The new normal will be to get vaccinated against coronavirus every year, just as we do against the flu, as there are indications that the immune response, both induced and natural, gradually declines, making us more vulnerable.
The possibility of a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine – and subsequent boosters – had already been advanced by Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla two weeks ago during an interview.
Pfizer will not be the only ones. Stephane Bancel, CEO and senior partner of Moderna told CNBC that they are already working on having booster doses in the fall of 2021 for their coronavirus vaccine. This would be prepared to offer a higher degree of immunity against new strains of the coronavirus. Especially the South African variant.
One of the good news regarding Pfizer’s mRNA-based coronavirus vaccines is that they will be much easier to modify and upgrade to perform better against new variants of the virus. Unlike viral vector vaccines, such as the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Another disadvantage of the latter is that the time between the first and second dose is longer and that it cannot be repeatedly vaccinated, since it could develop immunity against the adenovirus vector, which is as such the vehicle of administration of the dose.