Fact Finders: Will you need a third shot?

Updated: Apr. 16, 2021 at 7:20 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - If you got the Pfizer vaccine, will you really need to get a third shot within a year? Thursday, the CEO of Pfizer said that’s likely the case. However, a local expert says not so fast.

“I think it was some speculation more than anything,” said Deepta Bhattacharya, Associate Professor of Immunobiology, University of Arizona College of Medicine.

“I don’t really understand what that’s based upon because just a few days before, Pfizer and Moderna each released data showing that at six to seven months after vaccination there’s really no drop-off in efficacy whatsoever,” he said. “So, from my perspective as an immunobiologist it’s hard for me to see why or how we would need it quite so frequently if the concern is that the immune response is waning. I just don’t see any evidence for that.”

He says if you got the Moderna vaccine, it will likely follow suit with Pfizer since they are so similar. He also says neither has shown much evidence that immunity is waning quickly.

“So, the wildcard then becomes whether or not there’s a new variant that appears, that more substantially evades the immune response than the ones that we know about right now.”

So, what does Bhattacharya think we will be doing?

“Could be that we’ll need a variant booster once or twice and then hopefully, what I’m hoping anyway, is that we drop the transmission down to a level where we’re really not worrying about this until every three to five years.”

If you got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine does Bhattacharya think you would likely need a booster? He says since we have less data on that, it’s hard to tell just yet, but he expects it would be pretty similar to Moderna and Pfizer.

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