Pfizer’s Bourla says we need a 4th shot. Pfizer sold $36.8 billion dollars’ worth of COVID vaccines in 2021, making its vaccine the top-selling pharmaceutical product in history. Pfizer has estimated its COVID vaccine sales for 2022 at $32 billion.
Albert Bourla says we need a 4th dose of his magic money-making elixir, but his company is also working on a universal coronavirus vaccine (a 2nd magic elixir), which we will only need once a year.
Albert Bourla, PhD, CEO of Pfizer, said a second booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine is necessary for protection against infection, according to a March 13 interview with CBS News.
Dr. Bourla said the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine provides protection from hospitalization and death, but “it’s not that good against infections” and the protection is relatively short-lived. Pfizer is preparing data for the FDA about the need for a fourth dose.
“Many variants are coming,” Dr. Bourla told CBS. “And omicron was the first one that was able to evade in a skillful way the immune protection that we were giving. But also, in all that the duration of the protection, it doesn’t last very long.”
…In February, the CDC published a study showing the efficacy of booster shots of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines waned after about four months, but still provided significant protection from hospitalizations during the omicron surge.
Dr. Bourla also told CNBC that Pfizer is developing a vaccine that will protect against all COVID-19 variants, including omicron, for at least a year. He expects to review data from trials on the long-term vaccine by the end of the month.
But Dr. Marco Cavaleri, a top regulator at Europe’s FDA, called the European Medicines’ Agency (EMA), says this may weaken the immune response. According to Reuters:
The European Union’s drug regulator on Tuesday expressed doubts about the need for a fourth booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine and said there is currently no data to support this approach as it seeks more data on the fast-spreading Omicron variant.
“While use of additional boosters can be part of contingency plans, repeated vaccinations within short intervals would not represent a sustainable long-term strategy,” the European Medicines Agency’s Head of Vaccines Strategy, Marco Cavaleri, told a media briefing.
The EMA official raised concerns that a strategy of giving boosters every four months hypothetically poses the risk of overloading people’s immune systems and leading to fatigue in the population.
Cavaleri also said more data on the impact of the new variant on vaccines and a better understanding of the evolution of the current wave were needed to decide whether an Omicron-specific vaccine was needed.
“It is important that there is a good discussion around the choice of the composition of the vaccine to make sure that we have a strategy that is not just reactive … and try to come up with an approach that will be suitable in order to prevent a future variant,” he said.
The EMA said it was currently in conversation with vaccine developers in case there is a need for an updated vaccine but added that any such change would need to be coordinated globally.