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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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COVID-19 booster shot will likely be needed within a year of vaccination, Fauci says

Posted at 4:00 PM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 17:24:08-04

(WXYZ) — Vaccine booster shots for COVID-19 may be needed within a year, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

Chief Health Editor Dr. Partha Nandi shares data that shows how long the vaccines provide protection for:

As of now, the data indicates that COVID vaccines provide strong protection for at least six months. How long it lasts for after that, we don’t know for sure yet.

But Pfizer has offered up some new information. CEO Albert Bourla has said that based on new data that’s coming in, it looks like a booster would be beneficial between eight and 12 months.

Now since the vaccine was first administered back in December, you might have done the math and be wondering, "Will a booster shot be available in time for those who were first in line?" And it sounds like it’ll be close.

Pfizer is expecting more data from their ongoing trials in the next month or so. And they’re predicting its booster shot will be ready sometime between September and October. Of course, that will depend on the FDA, as they would need to approve it first.

We don’t know yet if the booster would be an identical or similar shot to what’s being administered now or if it’ll be modified. Having said that, Dr. Fauci has said that variant-specific boosters may not be necessary. And that a booster shot against the non-mutated strain may trigger a good enough response.

As of now, our vaccines are highly effective against the virus. But variants are wildcards. I know scientists will continue tracking them. And if the variants are found to be outsmarting our vaccines, then booster shots will likely be modified to fight them. Again, COVID vaccines have been proven to be extremely effective at stopping people from getting sick. Yes, there are breakthrough infections but these tend to be mild or asymptomatic.

And that’s why I can’t stress the importance of people getting the vaccines. Don’t let misinformation deter you. For example, COVID vaccines do not interfere with people’s DNA. They do not cause infertility. And magnets will not stick to your arm after you’re vaccinated. It’s unfortunate that we have people who will go to great lengths to spread false claims. But I assure you that our COVID vaccines are safe, and they help keep people safe. So please if you’re not vaccinated yet, please schedule your appointment when you can.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.