Nearly nine out of 10 American adults have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. But that doesn’t mean the job is done for vaccine manufacturers.
COVID-19 vaccine boosters continue to be an area that Pfizer and other manufacturers are continuing to research extensively, especially given that the immunity provided by these boosters is currently limited.
“I recognize that the biggest challenge for the healthcare system right now will become the compliance with vaccination recommendations,” Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer told attendees at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference in Marina Del Rey, Calif. on Tuesday.
“People will be less inclined to follow religiously the required [vaccine] recommendations religiously if we have to do it every three, four or five [months] or even if they don’t know for how long it will last,” Bourla says. “[That’s] why working on an annual vaccine, or a vaccine that will last at least a year, is the holy grail right now, and we are very intensively researching this,” Bourla says.
“We don’t have a vaccine that will do the job right now, something that will hold a year. That’s one of the most important challenges, I think,” Bourla said.
When it comes to Pfizer’s upcoming vaccines, Bourla shared on Tuesday that variant-specific boosters will likely be available in the U.S. in the fall. He added Pfizer is likely to have a more specific timeline in the coming month.
As for the anxiously-awaited COVID vaccines for children under the age of five, Bourla says he expects to have that data within the next month, as well.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to authorize a COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of five in June.
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