Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration and a board member of Pfizer, told CBS’s Margaret Brennan on Sunday that his guess is that a Covid-19 vaccine will be annual until more is learned.
“We don’t know yet,” Gottlieb told Brennan when she asked whether people would have to go back and get the vaccine every year.
“I think initially it’s probably going to be given on a general schedule until we learn more about the real-world benefits of the vaccine and how must it cuts down on transmission of the virus, you know, does it just prevent you from getting Covid symptoms or does it actually prevent you from gaining infection and spreading the infection,” Gottlieb said.
Gottlieb said that there is some data that suggests “the immunity is fairly durable and might last longer than a year, but we just don’t know that yet.”
He added that this probably wouldn’t be known at the time a vaccine gets authorized either, “so my guess is it’s going to be an annual vaccination for a period of time until we learn more.”
Gottlieb also spoke about the safety profile of the vaccine, saying “the safety profile has been good in the clinical trials.”
Most vaccine related adverse events happened in the first 40 days or two months of vaccination, he said.
“But, we’re not going to know the full profile until you have that long term follow up data,” which is why the FDA is taking what he called a prudent approach and probably won’t generally license the vaccine until they have six or eight months of long term follow up data on trial participants who were vaccinated and people who are vaccinated in the next several months.