“I feel comfortable enough that we’re covering it,” Pfizer CEO and Chairman Albert Bourla told CBS News’s Jan Crawford. “We won’t need a special vaccine for this. The current vaccine should cover it. “
theis on the verge of reaching 600,000 recorded coronavirus deaths, even with conditions improving dramatically thanks to widespread vaccination.
Over the weekend, the leaders of the world’s seven richest democracies pledged tomore than a billion doses of vaccine to the poorest countries over the next year. The United States contributes about half of these doses through a partnership with Pfizer.
And Bourla believes Pfizer is ready to take action with new vaccines to protect against possible variants within 100 days.
“We have surveillance systems in all countries – all over the world – when a new variant appears, immediately we test how the current vaccine behaves against that variant,” he said.
The CEO of Pfizer said a need for boosters for existing vaccines has yet to be determined, but studies are underway to see if this is necessary.
But based on the data, he said Pfizer expects people to need a booster shot – essentially a third dose – within eight to 12 months of their second injection.
By fall, Pfizer also hopes to reformulate its COVID-19 vaccine so that it does not require cold storage, and it expects the vaccine to be approved for children as young as five as well.
Bourla explained that the goal was collective immunity.
“When you achieve herd immunity, you also protect others, and children will play an important role in that,” he said.
Joining the U.S.-led effort to make vaccines more available, Pfizer has pledged to donate a total of two billion doses over the next year and a half, most of which they are intended for low-income countries.
“I would like to reflect first and foremost because it is the right thing to do, but also putting aside moral concerns, I think it is also very important to globally control the pandemic,” said Bourla.
Despite the fastest vaccine development ever, one of Bourla’s biggest concerns is people’s reluctance to take it.
With vaccination rates slowing, Bourla shared a message for those still hesitant.
“I try to explain to them that the decision to vaccinate or not will not only affect your life,” he said. “But unfortunately, it will affect the health of others and will likely affect the health of the people you love and love the most. ”
“When you try to explain that their fear might get in the way of protecting their loved ones, I think that’s the argument that works the most. “