Pfizer CEO says Omicron vaccine to be ready by March

The goal is to produce a vaccine that is much better at preventing infection from omicron.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla announced on Monday that a vaccine targeting the omicron variant of COVID-19 will be ready in March, adding that the company has already begun manufacturing the doses. The vaccine, according to Bourla, will also tackle the other circulating variants. He said it's still unclear whether or not an omicron vaccine is needed or how it'll be utilized, but Pfizer will have some doses on hand because some countries want it ready soon. “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 also claims that a fourth vaccination dose, which Israel is already giving to risk groups, is unnecessary, claiming that further evidence is needed. A week after receiving the shot, Israel discovered that a fourth dose of the vaccine raises antibodies that protect against the virus fivefold. According to real-world data from the United Kingdom, Pfizer's and Moderna's vaccines are only around 10% effective at preventing symptomatic infection from omicron 20 weeks after the second dosage, according to a study by the U.K. Health Security Agency. The study revealed that the original two doses still provide good protection against serious sickness, but that more data is needed. Booster shots are up to 75% effective at preventing symptomatic infection, according to the study.