Right now, there’s a lull after the omicron COVID wave swept through the U.S., and governments and the medical community make plans for the next phase while closely monitoring potential new variants that could trigger another wave. Hospitalizations are a fraction of their omicron peak, and deaths are slowing around the country. To keep these levels manageable, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said, a fourth dose of vaccine is “necessary.”
“Right now, the way that we have seen, it is necessary, a fourth booster right now. The protection that you are getting from the third, it is good enough, actually quite good for hospitalizations and deaths. It’s not that good against infections,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told “Face the Nation” in an interview that aired Sunday.
Bourla said his company is working on a new vaccine to fight all variants that would provide protection for a year or more. It is likely that doctors will recommend annual COVID vaccines just as they do annual flu shots. Until that is available, though, a fourth dose of existing vaccine is probably the best protection against another wave as immunity wanes even for those who have received a booster shot. If you’ve had a third shot (or second if you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine the first go-around), your protection might last until the fall before you’d need a fourth dose, unless you’re elderly or in a specific immunocompromised group.
“I don’t think you’re going to be hearing, if you do, any kind of recommendations that would be across the board for everyone,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, said in February. “It very likely will take into account what subset of people have a diminished, or not, protection against the important parameters such as hospitalization.”
Bourla also said data on Pfizer’s three-dose trial on kids aged 6 months to 5 years should be ready next month.