Pfizer and BioNTech have submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking emergency use authorization for another COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for individuals 65-years-old and above, according to a press release.

The course for most people ages 12 and over currently involves three jabs — two shots for the primary series followed by a single booster dose — though Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that immunocompromised individuals ages 12 and older should receive four vaccine doses, comprised of three doses of an mRNA vaccine for their primary series, as well as a single booster shot.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla indicated during a recent interview that a fourth shot will be needed.

“Right now the way that we have seen, it is necessary, a fourth boost, right now,” he said. Bourla described the protection provided by a third shot as “quite good for hospitalizations and deaths,” but he said it is “not that good against infections” and “doesn’t last very long.”

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on “Face the Nation” | Full interview

When asked whether he thinks people will need to prepare to get an annual booster shot, Bourla said, “I think so.”

Bourla said that they are trying to develop a vaccine that shields people against all variants and provides at least one year of protection.

“Emerging evidence, including data from Kaiser Permanente Southern California, suggests that effectiveness against both symptomatic COVID-19 and severe disease caused by Omicron wanes 3 to 6 months after receipt of an initial booster (third) dose,” the press release from Pfizer and BioNTech said. “Thus, additional booster doses may be needed to ensure individuals remain adequately protected.”

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