“The protection that you are getting from the third, it is good enough, actually quite good for hospitalizations and deaths,” Bourla said. “It’s not that good against infections, but doesn’t last very long. But we are just submitting those data to the FDA, and then we will see what the experts also will say outside Pfizer.”
His comments come as the White House plans the next phase of its Covid response, aiming to keep the virus under control in a way that is less disruptive to daily life. Though cases soared in early 2022 because of the Omicron variant, the coronavirus’ impact on the U.S. has been less severe since February.
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. When Pfizer last recommended a booster, the FDA disagreed before ultimately changing course and recommending the shot. Asked whether Pfizer and the agency could avoid being out of step this time, Bourla said on Sunday, “I think so.”
“And I think right now we need to be very well-coordinated — CDC, FDA and the industry — so that we are all providing to the American people and to the world a cohesive picture rather than confusion,” he added.
Though Covid cases have calmed down in the U.S. since the worst of the Omicron variant, Bourla highlighted the need “very diligently to stay ahead of the virus” and said another shot could help with the issue of the vaccine’s waning protection over time.
On the topic of durability, the CEO said his company’s goal was to make a vaccine that lasts longer — at least a year — and protects against all variants. If Pfizer can achieve that, Bourla said, “we can go back to, really, the way we used to live.”
The White House referred questions to the FDA when asked for comment on Bourla’s remarks. The FDA and CDC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.