Despite the alleged 95% effectiveness of the Covid vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla announced on Thursday that the company he leads is testing a third dose of its vaccine, in anticipation of annual booster doses.
In a press release, Pfizer stated that it intended to examine the effect of a booster on immunity against Covid, amid the spread and emergence of new variants of SARS-CoV-2, and to maintain a constant dialogue with the FDA and with the EMA (European Medicines Agency) on a clinical trial for testing a modified mRNA vaccine.
Pfizer intends to prepare for a possible rapid adoption of the vaccine for the new variants, which will allow the development of new inoculations in just a few weeks. This “regulatory path” is already in place for other infectious diseases such as the flu, the vaccine manufacturer said.
The executive director of Pfizer hopes that a third dose will further improve the immune response or provide protection against new coronavirus variants.
“Every year you have to go get your flu shot. It will be the same with the Covid vaccine. In a year, you will have to go get your annual dose of Covid vaccine to be protected”
Bourla told NBC News. Bourla is the son of a Holocaust survivor couple, according to the Times of Israel.
The Covid vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech is not yet authorized by the FDA, but it has obtained an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) against Covid-19, being administered to people over 16 years of age. Emergency use of this vaccine is authorized only as long as “there are circumstances justifying the authorization of emergency use”.
The FDA said it wants to authorize booster doses based on small clinical trials, accepting data on how well vaccines prepare the immune system, rather than waiting for results on their long-term safety and efficacy in protecting against Covid-19.
For its part, ModeRNA is strengthening its global production capacity, in anticipation of sustained demand for Covid vaccines in the coming years. The company plans to test additional variants of its vaccine, booster doses and a new vaccine combined with its current vaccine as soon as regulators give it the green light.
As The Defender reported a week ago, billionaire Bill Gates, who has no medical training, suggested that a “third dose” of the vaccine might be needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.