Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Saturday said people getting COVID-19 booster shots every four to five months is “not a good scenario” and argued that an annual vaccine would be a better approach to fighting the virus.
Bourla told the Hebrew publication N12 News in an exclusive interview that the best way to combat COVID-19 is a vaccine that can be administered every year, not with boosters received every few months, according to Reuters.
“This will not be a good scenario,” he said when asked about people getting booster shots every four to five months, per the wire service. “What I’m hoping [is] that we will have a vaccine that you will have to do once a year.”
“Once a year — it is easier to convince people to do it. It is easier for people to remember,” he continued. “So from a public health perspective, it is an ideal situation.”
Bourla said Pfizer was seeking to create a vaccine that could counter omicron in addition to other strains of the virus “that could be a solution.”
Amid a surge in cases driven by the omicron variant, the Biden administration is encouraging Americans to get booster shots in addition to a full initial regimen of the COVID-19 vaccine.
President Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, said last November he hopes that if enough people get boosted, Americans “will not necessarily need” to get vaccinated every six months to a year.
“We would hope — and this is something that we’re looking at very carefully — that that third shot with the mRNA [vaccine] not only boosts you way up but increases the durability so that you will not necessarily need it every six months or a year,” he said.
Pfizer rolled out its vaccine in late 2020 on emergency approval and in 2021, it became the only vaccine-maker to win full approval from the FDA. Pfizer is also the only company with authorization to give boosters to those aged 12 to 17 for the COVID-19 vaccine.
In the interview, Bourla also said Pfizer was working on a vaccine that could combat omicron.
“I do not know if we will have to use it, but we are working on the vaccine. We will know if it is the best solution only after we see the data,” he said. “We know we will be able to mass-produce the vaccine, if necessary, because we are already building the infrastructure for production.”