J&J CEO says Americans will need to receive COVID-19 vaccine boosters for ‘several years’


Johnson & Johnson’s CEO says Americans will need to receive COVID-19 vaccine boosters for ‘several years’ and that they may be given with annual flu shot

  • On Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky says Americans will likely need COVID vaccine boosters for ‘several years’
  • He said the boosters are to protect against variants and may be given alongside annual flu shots
  • Public health experts believe COVID-19 will likely become an endemic disease, meaning always present in the population but circulating at low rates
  • Gorsky also said he believes J&J will ply a role in controlling the global pandemic despite the company’s setbacks 

Johnson & Johnson’s CEO said on Wednesday that he believes people will likely need boosters for the COVID-19 vaccine for years to come.

During The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Health conference, Alex Gorsky said that not enough people have gotten vaccinated around the world to prevent the spread of highly infectious variants.

Until that happens, he says Americans may need to get an annual shot, just like they do with the influenza vaccine.

‘We could be looking at this tagging along with the flu shot, likely over the next several years,’ Gorsky said. 

On Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky says Americans will likely need COVID vaccine boosters for 'several years. Pictured: Gorsky in the South Court Auditorium, next to the White House, March 2021

On Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky says Americans will likely need COVID vaccine boosters for ‘several years. Pictured: Gorsky in the South Court Auditorium, next to the White House, March 2021

He said the boosters are to protect against variants and may be given alongside annual flu shots (file image of J&J COVID-19 vaccines)

He said the boosters are to protect against variants and may be given alongside annual flu shots (file image of J&J COVID-19 vaccines)

Public health experts have previously stated that they believe COVID-19 is going to become an endemic disease.

This means it will always present in the population but circulating at low rates.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have each launched clinical trials examining the efficacy of coronavirus booster shots.

In Pfizer’s clinical trial, the potential booster shot will be given to participants six to 12 months after they were fully vaccinated.

Researchers will examine volunteers upon injection of the third dose one week later and one month later to see if they developed neutralizing antibodies. 

Meanwhile, Moderna’s clinical trial will be testing three different types of booster shots.

Two-thirds of the volunteers will be given two different doses of the booster and the other group will receive a shot that combines Moderna’s original vaccine and the booster shot in one dose.

This is not the first time Gorsky has made such comments.   

In an interview on CNBC in February, Gorsky discussed how the COVID-19 vaccine may become a seasonal shot because the virus has kept mutating.

‘Unfortunately, as [the virus] spreads it can also mutate,’ Gorsky told host Meg Tirrell during a Healthy Returns Spotlight event.

‘Every time it mutates, it’s almost like another click of the dial so to speak where we can see another variant, another mutation that can have an impact on its ability to fend off antibodies or to have a different kind of response not only to a therapeutic but also to a vaccine.’

During the Tech Health Event, Gorsky also defended the company’s vaccine and said he believes J&J’s one dose vaccine will play a large role in helping contain the pandemic despite some setbacks. 

The firm experienced supply issues after a manufacturing plant in Baltimore accidentally ruined 15 million doses.

What’s more, the shot was paused in April for 11 days after reports of rare blood clots, mostly in women. 

‘We still believe that this is going to be a very important tool in the overall armamentarium to help overall contain Covid and make a big difference for the world, Gorsky said.



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