By Dr Eddy Betterman
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine once is risky enough, but it may turn out that people will need to get the jab every year for at least the next several years on account of the virus’s many mutations.
Speaking to CNBC, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said that if new variants keep popping up, the COVID-19 vaccine may end up being more like the seasonal flu shot in the sense that it needs to be administered each year.
All of the COVID-19 vaccines on the market right now are relatively recent developments, and we have already seen new variants of the disease pop up in South Africa, the UK and Brazil since the vaccines were created, which means they may not afford the protection people expect.
Gorsky noted: “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.”
Other public health experts have said that they believe coronavirus will be an endemic disease that is always present within the population but hopefully circulating at lower rates.