Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said his company is developing an annual Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine to ensure “greater compliance” among populations.
He made this revelation during an April 15 press briefing organized by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations. The CEO of the New York-based drug company also discussed the creation of a new COVID-19 vaccine.
“What the world really needs is a vaccine that can last a year. A vaccine that will be taken once a year is way [easier] to administer and [to] have the population be compliant with it,” said Bourla. Touting it as “the optimal public health solution,” he argued that a yearly shot made compliance with vaccine mandates easier compared to shots injected every three to four months.
Bourla also lamented people’s lukewarm reception toward booster doses, citing the dwindling number of recipients for subsequent doses after the second. This, he explains, is one of the main reasons why Pfizer is working to create an annual vaccine. (Related: BioNTech co-founder echoes Pfizer CEO, expects people to get vaccinated against coronavirus annually.)
“The issue is that right now, we are – in many, many countries – in the fourth dose, and that creates fatigue. Way more people got the second [dose] than the third, [and] I think the compliance with the fourth dose will not be as high. [We] realized that people will not comply with the fourth or fifth vaccination. This is why we need to come [up with] scientific innovations that will allow us to have a vaccine that is annual.”
Aside from the lack of enthusiasm toward boosters, Bourla also denounced the “politicization” of vaccines during the press briefing.
“I think that what didn’t help at all, and this was a very big issue, was the fact that there was a politicization. It became a political statement [to get] a vaccine or [to] wear a mask or not, and that caused tremendous damage to global health.”
The Pfizer CEO said SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, is “very difficult to eradicate” and admitted that vaccine-induced protection against the pathogen does not last long. “The most likely scenario is that the virus will continue being with us for years to come,” he said in response to a question from event host Claire Doole about COVID-19 and the need for vaccination.
Bourla has been at the forefront of Big Pharma’s push for subsequent COVID-19 booster doses amid the spread of the B11529 omicron variant. While more infectious than the earlier B16172 delta strain, omicron has been shown to cause milder symptoms.
In December 2021, the Pfizer bigwig remarked that a fourth dose may be needed in light of omicron. “[The first point is] when we see real-world data, [it] will determine if the omicron [variant] is well-covered by the third dose and for how long. [The] second point [is] I think we will need a fourth dose,” he said during a Dec. 8, 2021 appearance on the CNBC program “Squawk Box.”
He earlier predicted that a fourth vaccine dose may be required 12 months after the third. Bourla, however, changed his stance and explained: “With omicron, we need to wait and see because we have very little information. We may need it faster.”
Later in March, Bourla remarked that people may need to get a fourth booster dose soon. He said during an interview on “Face the Nation” on CBS: “[From] the way that we have seen, a fourth dose is necessary right now. The protection that you are getting from the third [dose] … [is] actually quite good for hospitalizations and deaths, [but] not that good against infections.”
He also mentioned Pfizer’s attempts to create a vaccine that protects against all SARS-CoV-2 variants for at least a year during the CBS interview, which he echoed during the April 15 press conference.
BigPharmaNews.com has more stories about Pfizer espousing vaccines to respond to COVID-19.
Watch Albert Bourla’s December 2021 CNBC appearance below where he defends the need for subsequent vaccine doses against omicron.
This video is from the Zbest News channel on Brighteon.com.
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