Pfizer CEO on omicron variant: Booster will be enough to maintain protection
Company expects 'more accurate data' in week or two
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Wednesday that the company's COVID-19 booster shot would be enough to "maintain protection" against the omicron variant.
He said that three doses against omicron are almost equivalent to the two doses’ effectiveness against the original COVID-19 variant.
Bourla noted that his company is waiting to see "more accurate data," which is expected to come within a week or two.
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"The current booster will be enough to maintain protection," he told NBC's "Today" show.
This comes after Pfizer and BioNTech said three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine "neutralize" the variant and two doses "show significantly reduced neutralization titers."
"Data indicate that a third dose of BNT162b2 increases the neutralizing antibody titers by 25-fold compared to two doses against the omicron variant; titers after the booster dose are comparable to titers observed after two doses against the wild-type virus which are associated with high levels of protection," the companies said in a joint news release. The preliminary laboratory data has not yet undergone scientific review.
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Bourla confirmed that his company found the effectiveness of the initial two-shot regime was significantly reduced against the variant, but that a third dose neutralizes the variant of concern.
For those who have only gotten one or two shots of the vaccine, Bourla said there is still "tremendous value."
"There is tremendous value compared to if you have only one or if you don't have any. Tremendous value. It might not be enough on itself, but we are waiting to see," he said. "So, you may need to go to get the third booster faster and that's something that they have ... considered very carefully and make their recommendations. But, clearly, having two doses compared to nothing protects you way better than having nothing."
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Pfizer and BioNTech are working to create an omicron-specific vaccine in case it’s needed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.