Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Monday said that his company is aiming to have a vaccine that targets the omicron variant as well as other COVID-19 variants ready in March.
“This vaccine will be ready in March,” Bourla said in an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
“We [are] already starting manufacturing some of these quantities at risk,” he added.
Pfizer will produce the doses to be ready in case countries want the shots, but Bourla noted that it was unclear if a vaccine targeting variants was necessary or how exactly it would be used.
“The hope is that we will achieve something that will have way, way better protection particularly against infections, because the protection against the hospitalizations and the severe disease – it is reasonable right now with the current vaccines as long as you are having let’s say the third dose,” Bourla said.
Last month, Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, said that he did not see a need for an omicron-specific vaccine.
“Our booster vaccine regimens work against omicron,” he said. “At this point there is no need for a variant-specific booster.”
To combat the new variant, Fauci encouraged people to get their booster shots and their vaccines.
“The message remains clear: If you are unvaccinated, get vaccinated, and particularly in the arena of omicron, if you are fully vaccinated, get your booster shot,” he said.
More recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents ages 12 to 15, making about 5 million children now eligible for the shot.