Pfizer CEO says a third vaccine dose is likely, Moderna updates booster shot timeline

Pfizer CEO sees need for a third vaccine dose as Moderna updates its timeline on third booster shot. Pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine remains. Yahoo Finance’s Anjalee Khemlani breaks down the details.

Video Transcript

MYLES UDLAND: All right. Let's turn our attention back now to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rollout of the vaccine. Of course, earlier this week we saw Johnson & Johnson's vaccine recommended that it would be paused in the rollout.

Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani joins us now with the latest, Anjalee, on this continuing and developing story. And as we wrap up this week, I guess trying to get a sense of where we stand with booster shots, additional trials, where Johnson & Johnson fits in here, and an evolving picture, I think, in the fight against the pandemic.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Absolutely. Kind of like the evolving pandemic itself. So right now what we know is that we've heard from both the CEOs of the mRNA vaccine companies. Pfizer's CEO, Albert Bourla, saying just yesterday that there is going to be a need for a booster shot. We also had Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel this week say the same thing to us and also explain why that would be. Listen to what he had to say.

STEPHANE BANCEL: You have a mixed bag, I would say, between people that are young and healthy and maybe 100% efficacy and people that are older with one of several co-morbidity factors. And then to your point is the variants. We do worry about the variants.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: All of it put together between sort of waning efficacy-- waning protection in certain individuals, as well as the threat of variants. We know that we're already seeing the beginnings of another wave right now in the country. All of this put together is giving all the companies a reason to push for a booster shot. And they're currently working on trials to make sure that that's going to happen.

Meanwhile, in the background, of course, more pressure on these mRNA companies to produce, as Johnson & Johnson is on pause. That pause was elongated after a advisory panel to the CDC did not vote for any recommendations on what to do, waiting instead to collect more data on these reports of blood clots, very rare instances, but similar to what we saw in Europe, and could result in sort of an age or gender restriction on who gets to get those vaccines.

We know that this is really important not just locally, but also globally, as Johnson & Johnson remains the only single shot vaccine that can be stored at relatively normal temperatures and is really important for rural communities, remote areas of the world, as well as just generally for easier use of vaccines. And so it's going to be really interesting to see how this all plays out. We know that the mRNA companies are definitely getting a lot of phone calls. Their efficacy numbers as well playing a role in why there's so much interest.

So a lot going on. We know that vaccinations are continuing here in this country. And the Biden administration believes that even with the J&J pause, they will still meet that 200 million doses in 100 days. Back to you guys.

MYLES UDLAND: Yeah, Anjalee. And it's interesting, we're kind of at this inflection point where we're starting to wrap up all the vaccine motivated vaccine seekers getting their appointments and actually getting their vaccines and into this phase that we all knew was coming. We're trying to reach, harder to reach folks, people who are skeptical, and just with an easier process. And certainly, this hiccup in Johnson & Johnson complicating that somewhat.

All right. Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani with the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic.