Story at a glance

  • “With time immune responses wane and we see indications for this in the induced, but also in the natural response against SARS-CoV-2,” BioNTech co-founder and CMO Ozlem Tureci said.
  • There could be a situation similar to the flu shot, where people would require vaccines each year or second year.
  • Tureci’s comments come after Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said a booster dose will likely be necessary for patients within 12 months of becoming fully vaccinated.

A booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will likely be needed as immunity against the coronavirus wanes over time, according to the chief medical officer of BioNTech. 

BioNTech co-founder and CMO Ozlem Tureci told CNBC Wednesday an additional shot of the two-dose vaccine will be needed and there could be a situation similar to the flu shot, where people would require vaccines each year or second year. 


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“It is the nature of immune responses that after they have been induced they spike and stay for a time. But with time immune responses wane and we see indications for this in the induced, but also in the natural response against SARS-CoV-2,” Tureci told CNBC’s Kelly Evans. 

Tureci said currently there’s no indication of coronavirus variants that can escape the immune response generated either by vaccines or natural infections, but she said it’s important to continue to gather data and analyze whether such strains emerge. She said adapting vaccines to variants of concern “is easy” with MRNA vaccines such as the one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, as well as the Moderna vaccine. 

Tureci’s comments come after Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said a booster dose will likely be necessary for patients within 12 months of becoming fully vaccinated. 

It’s still not settled exactly how long protection against COVID-19 lasts once someone has been inoculated; however, Pfizer earlier this month announced its vaccine has shown to be more than 91 percent effective against the disease for at least six months following the second dose. 

Moderna has also estimated it could begin providing booster shots by the fall. 


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Published on Apr 21, 2021