Pfizer CEO says a fourth booster shot is needed to protect against COVID-19, variants

The CEO of Pfizer said Sunday that a fourth dose of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine will be needed to strengthen the immune system to be able to fight off other variants of the virus that will inevitably come in the months and years ahead.

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“Many variants are coming, and Omicron was the first one that was able to evade — in a skillful way — the immune protection that we’re giving,” Albert Bourla told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“The protection we are getting from the third (dose) it is good enough — actually quite good for hospitalizations and deaths,” Bourla said.

Bourla appeared on the show two days after the second anniversary of the declaration of the pandemic that has killed more than 6 million people worldwide.

According to Bourla, a fourth dose is needed because protection against the disease after three doses is “not that good against infections” and “doesn’t last very long” when new variants such as omicron emerge.

“It is necessary, a fourth (dose) for right now,” Bourla said.

After allowing for emergency use authorization earlier in the year, the Food and Drug Administration fully approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in August.

A third dose of Pfizer’s vaccine was granted emergency use authorization for those ages 12 and older. It should be given five months after getting the second dose.

A third dose of the Moderna vaccine is available six months after the second shot for those ages 18 and older, and a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available two months after getting the single-dose vaccine.

Bourla told CNBC on Saturday of his company’s plans to submit data for a fourth COVID-19 dose.

“It’s clear that there is a need in an environment of omicron to boost the immune response,” he said.