A fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be needed in order to keep hospitalizations down, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Sunday.
“Right now, the way that we have seen, it is necessary, a fourth booster right now. The protection that you are getting from the third, it is good enough, actually quite good for hospitalizations and deaths,” Bourla said while appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“It’s not that good against infections but doesn’t last very long. But we are just submitting those data to the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], and then we will see what the experts also will say outside Pfizer,” he added.
The CEO told CNBC on Saturday that Pfizer is set to submit data to the FDA in a request for approval of a fourth COVID-19 dose. “It’s clear that there is a need in an environment of omicron to boost the immune response,” he said while appearing on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
Show host Margaret Brennan asked Bourla if his company can avoid the confusion that swirled around the first booster shot. “I think so. And I think right now we need to be very well coordinated, CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], FDA and the industry so that we are all providing to the American people and to the world a cohesive picture rather than confusion,” he said.
With variants of the original SARS -CoV-2 continuing to crop up, Bourla said Pfizer is trying to create a vaccine that works against them all. “We are working very diligently right now … to make not only a vaccine that will protect against all variants, including Omicron, but also something that can protect for at least a year,” he said. “And if we be able to achieve that, then I think it is very easy to follow and remember so that we can go back to really the way used to live.”
States across the U.S. are removing mandates for masks, with Hawaii set to be the last on March 26. But scientists say a “stealth” Omicron subvariant, BA.2, has been moving steadily across the country.
“Cases of this particular omicron subvariant, one of a few, keep popping up and have roughly doubled the past few weeks in the U.S., according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data estimates,” the Miami Herald reported on Wednesday. “It now makes up 11.6% of overall virus cases as of March 5 since it began doubling as of Feb. 5.”
“All in all, I think we’re really gonna be OK and I don’t think BA.2 is gonna be problematic like omicron,” said Dr. Thomas Russo, an infectious disease doctor and professor and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Buffalo, according to the Herald.
“In some parts of the world, the BA.2 subvariant has replaced the original omicron strain, known as BA.1, as the most dominant even as global cases go down, the World Health Organization said in a March 8 statement,” the report said.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.
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