Johnson & Johnson CEO: Vaccine doses may be needed annually for several years

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said people may be getting COVID-19 vaccines annually for the next several years.

Gorsky made the comment at a CNBC event on Tuesday after he was asked if he felt that post-pandemic vaccines would be needed, specifically if people would require updated COVID-19 vaccines every year, similar to the flu.

Gorsky said that a lot would depend on how the virus mutates.

“Every time it mutates, it’s almost like another click of the dial, so to speak, where we can see another variant, another mutation that can have an impact on its ability, for example, to fend off antibodies or to have a different kind of response not only to a therapeutic but also to a vaccine,” Gorsky said.

“I think most people feel that this will be something, where, likely for the next several years, we’ll be getting a COVID-19 shot, just like we would a flu shot. Exactly what that shot is going to be comprised of, I don’t think we know, today. But, I think we can all imagine a future where we’re living with this, but we can keep the science at pace with the virus so we can keep on living our lives,” he added.

Johnson & Johnson applied for an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday for its single-shot vaccine.

Data has shown its vaccine is about 66 percent effective in preventing moderate or severe disease, and it doesn’t need to be stored at the same freezing temperatures as Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines.

The FDA is convening a meeting of its vaccine advisory committee later this month to discuss the data.

Experts have said annual booster shots of a COVID-19 vaccine would likely be needed. Nadhim Zahawi, Britain’s vaccine deployment minister, told BBC on Sunday that he felt annual vaccinations would be highly likely going forward. 

Tags Alex Gorsky Coronavirus COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccine Johnson and Johnson

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