© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla Talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen During a Press Conference After a Visit to Supervise Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 Vaccine Production at Pfiz Plant
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc. (NYSE 🙂 CEO Albert Bourla said on Saturday that an annual vaccine against COVID-19 would be better than more frequent supplementary vaccines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Pfizer / BioNtech’s COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be effective against severe diseases and deaths caused by the highly mutated variant Omicron, but less effective in preventing transmission.
As the number of cases increases, some countries have expanded programs to boost vaccines against COVID-19 or shortened the gap between vaccines as governments struggle to strengthen protection.
In an interview with Israeli N12 News, Bourla was asked if he sees that supplemental injections are given regularly every four to five months.
“This is not going to be a good scenario. What I hope (is) that we will have a vaccine that you will have to do once a year,” Bourla said.
“Once a year – it’s easier to convince people to do it. It’s easier for people to remember.
“So, from a public health perspective, it’s an ideal situation. We’re looking at whether we can create a vaccine that covers Omicron and doesn’t forget other variants and that could be the solution,” Bourla said.
Bourla said Pfizer could be ready to apply for approval for a redesigned Omicron vaccine and mass production as soon as possible in March.
Citing three studies, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday that a third dose of mRNA vaccine is key to fighting Omicron, providing 90% protection from hospitalization.
A preliminary study released by Israeli medical center Sheba on Monday found that a fourth injection increases antibodies to an even higher level than a third, but is probably not enough to defend against Omicron. Nonetheless, a second reinforcement for at-risk groups is still advised, Sheba said.
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