Story at a glance

  • Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said Wednesday that the nation’s vulnerable populations, including front-line workers, could need COVID-19 vaccine booster shots by September.
  • Bancel told Axios in an email that the timeline fits those who received their first doses in December or January and that booster shots in early fall could be useful in getting ahead of an outbreak.
  • Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla echoed Bancel at an Axios health care event Wednesday, saying the data leads him to believe a booster will be needed within eight to 12 months of vaccination.

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said Wednesday that the nation’s vulnerable populations, including front-line workers, could need COVID-19 vaccine booster shots by September. 

Bancel told Axios in an email that the timeline fits those who received their first doses in December or January and that booster shots in early fall could be useful in getting ahead of an outbreak. 

"I think as a country we should rather be two months too early, than two months too late with outbreaks in several places," Bancel said. 

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla echoed Bancel at an Axios health care event Wednesday, saying the data leads him to believe a booster will be needed within eight to 12 months of vaccination. 

Moderna told its investors in April that populations could need a booster shot by the end of the year and that they hope to get authorization for their shots in the summer, Business Insider reported.  

"I hope this summer to get the vaccine authorized for a boost so that we can help people getting boosted before the fall, so that we all have a normal fall and not a fall and winter like we just saw in the last six months," Bancel told Business Insider in April. 


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Infectious diseases expert and White House Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci bolstered Bourla and Bancel’s belief at the Axios event, adding protection offered by vaccinations is not permanent. 

"I think we will almost certainly require a booster sometime within a year or so after getting the primary [shot] because the durability of protection against coronaviruses is generally not lifelong," Fauci said. 


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Fauci said in a White House briefing on Tuesday that U.S.-approved vaccines are effective at fighting the COVID-19 variant currently tearing through India. Vaccines in the U.S. are “at least partially and probably quite protective...indicating another very strong reason why we should be getting vaccinated."

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nearly 50 of Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, 38.1 percent are fully vaccinated. 


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Published on May 21, 2021