Officials say COVID-19 booster vaccines likely, could be similar to flu shot

Coronavirus

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As millions of New Yorkers have been vaccinated, we’re now learning what’s next.

On Thursday, Pfizer’s CEO announced people will likely need to get a third dose within 12 months and could even need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus annually, similar to the flu shot.

“We know with most vaccines – not all vaccines, but with most vaccines – immunity kind of gets reduced over time,” explained Dr. Peter Winkelstein from UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “[The] body basically forgets the virus or whatever the vaccine is for, so sometimes you have to remind the body ‘you still have to fight this thing.'”

Winkelstein told News 4 that’s where booster shots come in.

“Why do you need more than one dose of the vaccine? Why not just one and done? With some vaccines that’s OK, but most of the time you need a couple of doses,” he said.

Boosters are also needed if the virus changes. Right now, the vaccines on the market are expected to cover the variants we’re seeing across the world, but Winkelstein said if that changes the booster shot is there to protect.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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