FRIDAY, April 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Vaccinated Americans will probably need booster shots to guard against emerging coronavirus variants in the future, a White House adviser and Pfizer said Thursday.
The United States is already planning for future booster shots, David Kessler, M.D., chief science officer for the pandemic response, said during a House subcommittee hearing on the country's vaccination efforts.
In February, Pfizer said it was testing a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine to understand the immune response against new variants of the virus. And Moderna said this week that it was at work on a booster for its vaccine, while Johnson & Johnson has said that its single-shot vaccine will probably need to be given annually, The New York Times reported.
Kessler, who runs the Biden administration's vaccine effort, told the House subcommittee that the government was looking ahead, The Times reported. While he emphasized the "strong efficacy" of the current vaccines, including against the new variants, he said the government was "taking steps to develop [the] next generation of vaccines that are directed against these variants if in fact they can be more effective."
Kessler was one of several top health officials at the subcommittee hearing who implored Americans to get vaccinated and sought to reassure the country that all three federally authorized vaccines are safe. However, they said little about restarting distribution of the J&J vaccine, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has paused to examine a handful of clotting cases in those who got the vaccine. Late Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had scheduled a new emergency hearing on the safety of the J&J vaccine for April 23.