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Pfizer CEO Says Fourth Dose of Vaccine Is Necessary

‘Variants are coming,’ Bourla said. ‘And Omicron was the first one that was able to evade in a skillful way the immune protection that we were given.’


Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said a fourth dose of the COVID vaccine would be needed because of waning protection after a third dose.

Bourla offered his latest insights in an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday.

The show’s host Margaret Brennan asked Bourla if Americans should plan to get a COVID shot yearly, akin to vaccines such as the flu shot.

“I think so,” Bourla said. “Variants are coming, and Omicron was the first one that was able to evade in a skillful way the immune protection that we were given.”

According to Bourla, Pfizer is developing a vaccine that will protect against all potential variants of COVID. He said the aim was to create a vaccine that would offer protection for “at least a year.” 

In the time leading up to that new or modified vaccine, Bourla said that a fourth COVID shot would be “necessary.”

“The protection that we are getting from the third [dose], it is good enough, actually quite good for hospitalizations and deaths, it’s not that good against infections, but doesn’t last very long,” Bourla said. “We are just submitting those data to the FDA, and then we will see what the experts also will say, outside of Pfizer.”

Guidance and approval for boosters of the COVID-19 vaccine have been authorized by both the CDC and the FDA. A fourth dose has been approved for those most vulnerable to severe illness. 

In December, Israel became the first country to approve the fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccines after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced that the additional dose would be available to people ages 60 or older and at-risk groups.

Other countries — including Denmark, SwedenChile, and the United Kingdom — have also approved a fourth dose.

The state of West Virginia was one of the first to apply for permission from the CDC to start administering fourth doses to people over 50 years old, people with underlying conditions, and essential workers.

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