On Sunday, Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, was interviewed on CBS’s Face The Nation program, and when asked if a fourth booster shot is needed, Bourla responded, “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, but doesn’t last very long…But we are just submitting those data to the Food and Drug Administration and then we will see what the experts also will say outside Pfizer.”
This announcement occurs before the FDA has made a final decision on recommending a fourth dose to the general populous and amidst varying reports about the efficacy of a fourth shot. As the New York Times reports, “according to a flurry of new studies[, t]hree doses of a Covid vaccine – or even just two – are enough to protect most people from serious illness and death for a long time…‘We’re starting to see now diminishing returns on the number of additional doses,’ said John Wherry, director of the Institute for immunology at the University of Pennsylvania.”
Despite the fact that the virus’s impact has appeared to lessen in severity since February; however, the messaging on the correct response remains unclear, and “Bourla’s comments continue a roller-coaster pattern of differing communication from the pharmaceutical company and the government as the pandemic enters its third year…‘I think right now we need to be very well-coordinated — Center for Disease Control and Prevention, FDA, and the industry — so that we are all providing to the American people and to the world a cohesive picture rather than confusion,’ [Bourla] added.”
Currently, the White House is planning “the next phase of its Covid response, aiming to keep the virus under control in a way that is less disruptive to daily life.” As mask mandates and social distancing guidelines continue to be made more flexible, it is clear that most Americans are simply looking for a return to the new normal, and during the Sunday interview, Bourla was clear on Pfizer’s commitment toward achieving their “goal of creating a vaccine effective against all variants of COVID-19 for longer periods of time. ‘We are working very diligently right now…to make not only a vaccine that will protect against all variants, including omicron, but also something that can protect for at least a year…And if we be able to achieve that, then I think it is very easy to follow and remember so that we can go back to really the way used to live,’” said Bourla.