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Annual COVID-19 booster preferable to frequent shots, Pfizer CEO says

Click to play video: 'Future of COVID-19 vaccinations: Will there be more boosters?' Future of COVID-19 vaccinations: Will there be more boosters?
WATCH: Future of COVID-19 vaccinations — Will there be more boosters? – Jan 21, 2022

Pfizer Inc Chief Executive Albert Bourla said on Saturday that an annual COVID-19 vaccine would be preferable to more frequent booster shots in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Pfizer/BioNtech’s COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be effective against severe disease and death caused by the heavily-mutated Omicron variant but less effective in preventing transmission.

With cases soaring, some countries have expanded COVID-19 vaccine booster programs or shortened the gap between shots as governments scramble to shore up protection.

Read more: COVID-19 booster shots: Here’s what you should know about side effects

In an interview with Israel’s N12 News, Bourla was asked whether he sees booster shots being administered every four to five months on a regular basis.

“This will not be a good scenario. What I’m hoping (is) that we will have a vaccine that you will have to do once a year,” Bourla said.

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“Once a year — it is easier to convince people to do it. It is easier for people to remember.

“So from a public health perspective, it is an ideal situation. We are looking to see if we can create a vaccine that covers Omicron and doesn’t forget the other variants and that could be a solution,” Bourla said.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: WHO top scientist says no evidence yet that healthy kids, adolescents need boosters' COVID-19: WHO top scientist says no evidence yet that healthy kids, adolescents need boosters
COVID-19: WHO top scientist says no evidence yet that healthy kids, adolescents need boosters – Jan 18, 2022

Bourla has said Pfizer could be ready to file for approval for a redesigned vaccine to fight Omicron, and mass produce it, as soon as March.

Citing three studies, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday that a third dose of an mRNA vaccine is key to fighting Omicron, providing 90 per cent protection against hospitalization.

A preliminary study published by Israel’s Sheba Medical Center on Monday found that a fourth shot increases antibodies to even higher levels than the third but was likely not enough to fend off Omicron. Nonetheless, a second booster was still advised for risk groups, Sheba said.

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