Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has begun work on a vaccine that is “tailored” to combat Omicron and other variants of the COVID-19 virus.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed that the work is underway, backing up comments by Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla this week who said the new vaccine will be ready in March.
“We already have begun work on a DNA template tailored to the sequence of Omicron, a critical step in the process of advancing a variant version of our vaccine if in fact we find one is needed,” a Pfizer spokesperson told Fox Business. “[We are] also manufacturing the variant vaccine at risk, as we did for Beta and Delta before.”
During an interview with CNBC on Monday, Bourla said that a vaccine that will target the Omicron variant and others “will be ready in March.”
“We [are] already starting manufacturing some of these quantities at risk,” he added during his appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month gave the green light for children ages 12 to 15 to be able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. There has also been discussion about the waning efficacy of any additional booster shots after a period of time.
“The hope is that we will achieve something that will have way, way better protection particularly against infections, because the protection against the hospitalizations and the severe disease — it is reasonable right now with the current vaccines as long as you are having let’s say the third dose,” Bourla said on CNBC.
Last month, the White House’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said he saw no need for another shot that is specific to Omicron.
“Our booster vaccine regimens work against Omicron,” he said. “At this point, there is no need for a variant-specific booster.”
“The message remains clear: If you are unvaccinated, get vaccinated, and particularly in the arena of omicron, if you are fully vaccinated, get your booster shot,” Fauci said.
In an interview at J.P. Morgan’s healthcare conference, Bourla spoke about the need for boosters.
“The two doses, they’re not enough for Omicron,” Bourla said. “The third dose of the current vaccine is providing quite good protection against deaths, and decent protection against hospitalizations.”
“We have seen with a second dose very clearly that the first thing that we lost was the protection against infections,” Bourla said.
“But then two months later, what used to be very strong in hospitalization also went down. And I think this is what everybody’s worried about,” he added.
“The question mark, it is how long that protection lasts with the third dose,” Bourla said.
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