Pfizer CEO says omicron vaccine will probably be prepared in March

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Monday a vaccine that targets the Omicron variant of Covid will be ready in March and the company has already started making the cans.

“This vaccine will be ready in March,” Bourla told CNBC.Squawk box.” “We [are] are already starting to manufacture some of these endangered quantities. “

Bourla said the vaccine will target the other variants in circulation as well. He said it was still not clear whether an Omicron vaccine would be needed or how it would be used, but Pfizer will have some doses ready as some countries want it ready as soon as possible.

“The hope is that we can achieve something that offers much better protection against infection, especially, because protection against hospitalization and serious illness is reasonable right now, with the current vaccines, as long as you say,” the third dose “said Bourla.

Real-world data from the UK have shown that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are only about 10% effective at preventing symptomatic infection from Omicron 20 weeks after the second dose, according to a study by the UK Health Authority. However, the two original doses still offer good protection against serious illness, the study found.

According to the study, booster vaccinations are up to 75% effective in preventing symptomatic infection.

Dr. White House chief medical officer Anthony Fauci said in December that it was no need for a booster shot specifically targeting omicrons, because the current boosters work well against the variant.

Modern CEO Stephane Bancel said CNBC on Monday The company is working on a booster targeting Omicron for this fall and will enter clinical trials shortly. Bancel said governments are in high demand as they prepare regular vaccinations for the virus.

Bourla said it was not clear whether a fourth dose would be needed. He said Pfizer would conduct experiments to see if another dose is needed.

Israel has made a fourth dose of Pfizer and BioNTechVaccine for people over 60, people with compromised immune systems, and healthcare workers.

Israel found that a fourth dose of the vaccine increased the antibodies that protect against the virus five-fold a week after receiving the vaccine.