Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Monday that his pharmaceutical company is planning to have a vaccine targeting the Omicron variant ready in March.
Bourla made the announcement in an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” where he said “this vaccine will be ready in March.”
“We [are] already starting manufacturing some of these quantities at risk,” Bourla added. “The hope is that we will achieve something that will have way, way better protection particularly against infections, because the protection against the hospitalizations and the severe disease — it is reasonable right now, with the current vaccines as long as you are having let’s say the third dose.”
According to CNBC, Bourla said the vaccine will also target other COVID-19 variants. In the interview, he did not clarify if he thinks a fourth COVID-19 vaccine is necessary.
“Real-world data from the United Kingdom has shown that Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines are only about 10% effective at preventing symptomatic infection from omicron 20 weeks after the second dose, according to study from the U.K. Health Security Agency. However, the original two doses still provide good protection against severe illness, the study found.
Booster shots are up to 75% effective at preventing symptomatic infection, according to the study.
White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said in December that there is no need for a booster shot that specifically targets omicron, because the current boosters work well against the variant.”
In an interview on Thursday, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said that a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose may be needed come fall 2022.
"I still believe we're going to need boosters in the fall of '22 and forward," Bancel said in the interview. He mentioned that a mutation of the virus could change the course of the pandemic again.
"We have been saying that we believe first this virus is not going away," he added. "We're going to have to live with it."