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The fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot is necessary, Pfizer CEO says

Do you need a fourth COVID-19 vaccine?

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A dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

A dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at Lurie Children’s hospital in Chicago on Nov. 5, 2021. People might need a fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot after all, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CBS’ “Face the Nation” over the weekend.

Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press

You might need a fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot after all, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CBS’ “Face the Nation” over the weekend.

Driving the news: Bourla said that the COVID-19 vaccine may become a yearly shot that is needed to ward off new COVID-19 variants that emerge.

What they’re saying: “It is necessary,” he said.

  • “Variants are coming and Omicron was the first one ... but also we know that the duration of the protection doesn’t last very long,” he said.
  • “So what we are trying to do, and we’re working very diligently right now, it is to make not only a vaccine that will protect against all variants, including Omicron, but also something that can protect for at least a year.”

The bigger picture: Pfizer’s call for a fourth shot comes as experts continue to monitor the need for another dose of the vaccine as COVID-19 case numbers drop and immunity increases.

  • Sweden’s public health department in February recommended that people 80 years old and older receive a second COVID-19 booster shot, which would be a fourth shot overall, according to The New York Times.
  • Dr. Eddie Stenehjem, Intermountain Healthcare infectious diseases physician, told the Deseret News that most Utahns shouldn’t need another COVID-19 booster shot.


What they’re saying: “We’re starting to see now diminishing returns on the number of additional doses,” John Wherry, director of the Institute for immunology at the University of Pennsylvania, told The New York Times.

  • “If people are exposed to another variant like Omicron, they now got some extra ammunition to fight it,” Dr. Julie McElrath, an infectious disease physician and immunologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, told The New York Times.