Dr. Albert Bourla, the CEO of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, has acknowledged that a fourth COVID-19 vaccine will be required to combat Omicron.
He predicted that it will be needed in a matter of months.
Even before concerns about the new super mutant type were voiced, Bourla had floated the notion of annual boosters for weeks.
Three doses, he told CNBC News, will provide’very good protection’ against COVID-19 this winter, although scientists are unsure how quickly immunity will wear off.
He said, “I will think we will need the fourth dose; I have said that multiple times. With the previous variants, I was projecting that it will be on 12 months after the third dose. With Omicron, we need to wait and see because we have very little information. We may need it faster.”
Bourla position on fourth dose came after Pfizer on Saturday warned that two doses of its vaccine would not prevent Omicron infections but ‘may still offer protection against severe disease’.
‘Nigeria’ll remain dumping ground till vaccine plants are built’
In a similar event, some pharmaceutical and virology experts have advised the Federal Government to be deliberate in its efforts to establish a COVID-19 vaccine plant in Nigeria so that it can meet the needs of the country’s over 200 million citizens.
They remarked in light of the recent news that certain COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped to Nigeria arrived four to six weeks before their expiration date and were unable to be used in time, despite efforts by health officials.
Peace Chinedum-Babalola, a professor of pharmacokinetics and Vice-Chancellor of Chrisland University in Abeokuta, Ogun State, encouraged the Federal Government to intervene by funding researchers and improving access to a vaccine facility in the country to avoid obtaining leftovers from the West.
“We are overripe as a country to make our own vaccines. I recall that May and Baker acquired one of the government’s facilities in Lagos, but I cannot tell how ready it is for use at the moment.
“The government must focus on increasing access to quality medicine. When you are a consuming nation, you become a dumping ground for leftovers. We should be more intentional in changing the tides.”