File photo of a healthcare professional prepares a dose of the Pfizer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine Photograph:( Reuters )
Dr Albert Bourla, chief executive at Pfizer, said that they are working on an updated vaccine for the Omicron variant, adding that it could be ready in 100 days
The head of US pharma giant, Pfizer, has said that yearly Covid vaccination might be necessary to maintain a “very high level of protection”.
Dr Albert Bourla, chief executive at the company which delivered the world's first Covid vaccine a year ago, said the countries may have to rely on jabs for many years to come to counter new variants and waning immunity.
Bourla told BBC that they are working on an updated vaccine for the Omicron variant, while adding that it could be ready in 100 days.
“If we have to make a guess based on everything I have seen so far, I would say that annual vaccinations...are likely to be needed to maintain a very robust and very high level of protection,” he said.
He said that Pfizer had already updated vaccines in response to the Beta, first identified in South Africa, and Delta, first identified in India, variants but that they had not been needed.
Bourla was described as unapologetic about making profits from the jabs, saying they had saved “millions of lives” around the globe.
“We have saved the global economy trillions of dollars. It is a strong incentive for innovation for the next pandemic. But people will see that if they step up to the game, to bring something that saves lives and saves money, there is also a financial reward,” he said.
The call for yearly vaccination from the Pfizer head comes as the world braces itself to tackle a new Covid variant that first emerged from South Africa.
The Omicron coronavirus variant was designated as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization after they found that the new strain had the ability to bypass the immunity generated by the vaccines.
(With inputs from agencies)