Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla announced on Monday that a vaccine targeting the omicron type of Covid will be available in March, adding that the company has already begun producing the doses.
Bourla told News Media “Squawk Box” that the vaccination would be ready in March. “We’ve already started making some of these high-risk volumes.”
The vaccine, according to Bourla, will also tackle the other circulating strains. He said it’s still unclear whether or not an omicron vaccination is needed or how it’ll be utilized, but Pfizer will have some doses on hand because some countries want it now.
“The aim is that we will get something that will have much, way greater protection, particularly against infections,” Bourla said. “Right now, with the current vaccinations, protection against hospitalizations and serious sickness is reasonable as long as you have, say, the third dosage,” Bourla said.
According to real-world data from the United Kingdom, Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccinations are only around 10% effective at avoiding symptomatic omicron infection 20 weeks after the second dosage, according to research by the United Kingdom Health Security Agency. The study indicated that the original two doses still give enough protection against serious sickness.
According to the study, booster doses are up to 75% effective in avoiding symptomatic illness.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House senior medical advisor, said in December that there is no need for a booster shot that specifically targets omicron because current boosters are effective against the variant.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told News Media earlier Monday that the company is working on an omicron-targeting booster that will enter clinical trials this fall. Governments are in high demand, according to Bancel, as they prepare to vaccinate against the virus on a regular basis.
It’s unclear whether a fourth dose is required, according to Bourla. Pfizer will run tests to see if another dose is required, he said.
People over the age of 60, people with impaired immune systems, and healthcare workers in Israel now have access to the fourth dose of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine.
A week after receiving the shot, Israel discovered that a fourth dosage of the vaccination raises antibodies that protect against the virus fivefold.