J&J CEO says people may need annual coronavirus vaccine shots for next several years

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People may need to take coronavirus vaccination shots annually over the next several years, like seasonal flu shots, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky told CNBC on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, as [the virus] spreads it can also mutate... 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," he said.

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J&J had just submitted last week a request from US regulators for emergency use authorization for the world's first single COVID-19 vaccine.

Global health authorities have been scrambling to dispense vaccines as drugmakers slow delivers due to production and logistical problems.

COVID-19 is rising in 37 countries and infections have surpassed 106 million globally and claimed over 2 million lives worldwide.

Top US infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci said the world needs to vaccinate quickly to try to get ahead of these changes in the virus.

The vaccines, already developed or currently under development, have been reported to be less effective at preventing highly transmissible COVID-19 variants.

“Clearly, the mutants have a diminishing effect on the efficacy of the vaccines,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said in a briefing. “We can see that we are going to be challenged.”

- With Reuters

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