Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla declared on Friday (March 11th) that the pharmaceutical company will be asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about getting a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine authorized.
During an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, the Pfizer CEO reveals what is the biggest question on his mind right now two years into the COVID-19 pandemic. “I think the biggest question of all of us is how to stay ahead of the virus. This has been proven to be a virus that is very smart. Knows how to mutate. Knows how to create opportunities for its survival. And science must win. So we need to stay ahead of it constantly and that is what [we] plan to do.”
When asked about the fourth dose of Pfizer’s vaccine, Bourla explains, “I think we’re going to submit to the FDA significant packets of data about the need for a fourth dose. And they need to make their own conclusions. And then the CDC also [needs] to see that. Clearly, there is a need in an environment of Omicron to boost the immune response. I don’t think that would be a need in Delta.”
The Pfizer CEO continues to note that with the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the situation is more challenging. “But that’s something that the FDA needs to decide and the CDC needs to recommend. The same is with every other country. Many countries already started recommending the fourth dose and we will see how the authorities here will think about it.”
Pfizer Reveals More Details About the Fourth COVID Vaccine Dose
When asked if the data suggests a fourth dose may be needed, the Pfizer CEO shared that the data shows the immune protection against the Omicron variant is very good after three doses. “When it comes against hospitalization or death. Not as good but pretty good against infections. The third dose [is god] but doesn’t last long. After three, four months, it starts waning. That’s Omicron and clearly, the risk after when you have waning immune responses is higher for people if they are older or if they have underlying conditions. But the immune responses are waning for all.”
While discussing why the third dose of Pfizer’s vaccine needed to be authorized to begin with, Bourla went on to add, “We started by hoping to bring a two-dose vaccine. And we started that when Omicron was not there. The studies started then and they were quite, doing very well against the Delta variant. But then things changed. And then we had the Omicron coming. We knew that in adults, you need three doses. The two doses don’t work well against Omicron and we realized that will be the case also for kids.”