J&J CEO says vaccine likely will need to come with annual flu shot for several years

Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky speaks during an event in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 10, 2021 in Washington, DC.

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Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky reiterated Wednesday that people will likely need to receive additional doses of the Covid-19 vaccines in addition to the annual flu shot for the next “several years”.

People must get the Covid booster vaccinations until herd immunity is achieved on a global scale and world leaders are able to limit the spread of highly contagious variants, Gorsky said during the Wall Street Journal’s Tech Health conference .

“We could look at this label along with the flu vaccination, probably in the next few years,” he said, referring to the Covid vaccines.

His comments come a day after U.S. health officials urged Americans to get vaccinated to prevent the Delta variant, first identified in India, from spreading across the country.

J & J’s vaccine only requires one shot, unlike Pfizer and Moderna’s Covid vaccines, which currently require two doses three to four weeks apart. All three vaccines have been shown to be highly effective against Covid, although executives now expect this strong protection to wear off over time.

As a result, most drug manufacturers and some scientists are now saying that people will likely need a booster dose of Covid vaccines and possibly additional vaccinations every year, just like they did with seasonal flu.

Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, told CNBC in a recent interview that researchers are seeing a decrease in antibody responses to the virus after eight months.

Gorsky previously stated that people will likely need to get Covid vaccinations annually.

During the journal’s event on Wednesday, Gorsky said the company is looking for new partners to develop vaccines that target variants.

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