Pfizer’s chief executive has revealed that two doses of its current Covid-19 vaccine offer “very limited protection, if any” against the Omicron variant.
Albert Bourla made the comments in an interview with Yahoo Finance after the company announced a new Omicron-specific version of the vaccine would be ready by March, with doses already being manufactured.
“We know that the two doses of the vaccine offer very limited protection, if any,” Dr Bourla said.
“The three doses with a booster, they offer reasonable protection against hospitalisation and deaths – against deaths, I think, very good, and less protection against infection. Now we are working on a new version of our vaccine, the 1.1, let me put it that way, that will cover Omicron as well. Of course we are waiting to have the final results, [but] the vaccine will be ready in March.”
In a separate interview with CNBC, Dr Bourla said Pfizer’s new vaccine would also target other variants currently circulating.
“The hope is that we will achieve something that will have way, way better protection particularly against infections,” he said.
“Because the protection against the hospitalisations and the severe disease – it is reasonable right now, with the current vaccines as long as you having, let’s say, the third dose.”
He added that it also remains unclear whether a fourth shot will become necessary, with Pfizer set to conduct experiments on the issue.