Coronavirus: Pfizer’s omicron vaccine will be ready in March, CEO says

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Monday said he believes the pharmaceutical company will have a vaccine that targets the omicron variant as well as other COVID-19 variants, ready in March.

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Bourla, speaking on “Squawk Box,” said Pfizer will produce the doses for countries that want the shots.

“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.

Bourla said two doses of the company’s vaccine may not provide strong protection against infection from the omicron COVID-19 variant, and the original shots have also lost some of their efficacy at preventing hospitalization.

Studies out of the United Kingdom have shown that the mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna are only about 10% effective at preventing symptomatic infection from omicron 20 weeks after the second dose.

The two vaccines still provide good protection against hospitalization and death, and when a third shot is added, are up to 75% effective at preventing symptomatic infection, according to a study by the U.K. Health Security Agency.

Bourla said that the third shots provide good protection against death, and “decent” protection against hospitalization.