Reynold Panettieri, vice chancellor for translational medicine and science at Rutgers University, and Stanley H. Weiss, an epidemiologist and professor at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and the Rutgers School of Public Health, are available to discuss the possibility that people who receive COVID-19 vaccines will need booster shots 12 months later, and then possible annual vaccinations as protection against variants of the virus.

“The announcement of a potential need for a booster for the COVID-19 vaccines is similar to the precaution we take with the annual flu vaccine. Viruses have an evolutionary pressure that requires a change in their genetic code to stay virulent. The booster may allow for enhanced immunity for any variants that may emerge,” Panettieri said.

“Our rapidly evolving understanding of the immunological responses to COVID-19 and of key issues around developing virus variants increasingly suggest that at some point we shall require a booster shot for the body’s immune system to extend the effectiveness of the existing vaccines,” said Weiss. “Pfizer and other companies have been carefully investigating these issues and scenarios, incrementally examining optimal approaches. This is a positive development as part of the comprehensive protections against this disease we need for society.”