Story at a glance

  • Pfizer CEO Albert Boula said the company submitted booster shot data to the FDA.
  • He said that approving booster doses won’t affect other countries’ ability to get initial doses.

As federal officials ramp up plans to distribute booster shots among Americans, Pfizer officials confirmed the company’s submission of booster data to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and urged the agency to approve the third dose.

Writing in an open letter published on Thursday, Pfizer CEO Albert Boula discussed breakthrough cases and waning immunity that the approved COVID-19 vaccines deliver.

Boula described new studies the company commissioned that showcase strong immune responses after a third booster dose preceded by the two shots in the original COVID-19 vaccine. Researchers saw more neutralizing antibodies that can help patients fight off the virus and new variants. 

“These findings indicate that time from vaccination is likely a significant factor in breakthrough cases, which supports the important role that booster shots can play in helping to maintain protection against COVID-19,” Boula wrote.

Booster vaccines, which had gained traction following data that supported waning immunity among vaccinated individuals, are now a key pillar in President Biden’s plan to overcome the delta variant-fueled outbreaks. 

Shots are slated to be more widespread among individuals by next week.

Boula’s letter outlining promising booster data echoes recently released Moderna data that supports a need for booster shots. He also added that the company is taking equitable distribution of boosters and other vaccine doses into account, saying that Pfizer has committed to providing 1 billion doses to lower-income countries by the end of the year. This issue has concerned some international public health experts, who see boosters as a possible hindrance to vaccine inequality. 

With this justification, he further advocated the approval of Pfizer’s dosages. 

“Boosters should be approved or not, based on scientific evidence,” he stated. “I believe, however, that the introduction of booster doses should not change the number of doses that each country receives. No commitments already made by Pfizer to a country will change if boosters are approved.”

Published on Sep 16, 2021