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First vaccine boosters could be needed as soon as September, executives say

The first Americans who received their COVID-19 vaccines could need a “booster” shot as soon as September, the CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna told Axios.

"The data that I see coming, they are supporting the notion that likely there will be a need for a booster somewhere between eight and 12 months." Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said during a virtual event with the news outlet on Wednesday.

That means that those who received the vaccine early this year could require a booster shot in September or October to help protect against contracting, or spreading, COVID-19. 

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Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel confirmed the timeline, according to Axios. 

"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 in an email.

"People at highest risks (elderly, healthcare workers) were vaccinated in December/January," he wrote. "So I would do [a] September start for those at highest risk."

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciDelta variant's UK dominance sparks concerns in US Overnight Health Care: FDA says millions of J&J doses from troubled plant must be thrown out | WHO warns Africa falling far behind in vaccinations | Top CDC official says US not ready for next pandemic Top CDC official warns US not ready for next pandemic MORE, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also told Axios during the event that Americans will “almost certainly” require a COVID-19 booster shot.

“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.

The news outlet noted that vaccine efficacy does not disappear overnight, and the process will be gradual if protection does decline from COVID-19 vaccines.

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British officials on Wednesday launched a national COVID-19 booster shot trial to study the effects of a third inoculation in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus. Seven coronavirus shots will be tested under the trial amid nearly 3,000 volunteers.

David Kessler, the chief science officer for the White House's COVID-19 response team, told senators at a hearing earlier this month that COVID-19 vaccine booster shots would be free to the public if they are needed.

"We do have the funds to purchase the next round, if they are necessary. So we will be able to purchase the next round to ensure if there are boosters, they are free, just as the last round," Kessler said.