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On Monday, during an interview at a healthcare conference hosted by J.P. Morgan, Bourla encouraged listeners to receive a third vaccine and additional booster shots — after he explained that the previous two Pfizer shots are ineffective at fighting omicron.
Bourla commented, "The two doses, they're not enough for omicron. The third dose of the current vaccine is providing quite good protection against deaths and decent protection against hospitalizations."
Pfizer CEO on the vaccine that the U.S. government wants to mandate for the entire population:— Young Americans for Liberty (@YALiberty) January 10, 2022
"Two doses of the vaccine offers very limited protection, if any. 3 doses with a booster offer reasonable protection against hospitalization and deaths." pic.twitter.com/bflGbJWFzh
Omicron, according to Bourla, is a harder COVID variant to combat with vaccines than previous variants were. Bourla explained that because omicron has dozens of mutations, it can easily evade both of Pfizer's two original shots.
"We have seen with a second dose ... that the first thing that we lost was the protection against infections," Bourla explained. "But then, two months later, what used to be very strong in hospitalization also went down. And I think this is what everybody's worried about."
According to data from the United Kingdom, two Pfizer or Moderna shots are only about 10% effective at preventing the recipient from contracting omicron.
Pfizer's CEO suggested booster shots may be necessary on a regular basis, noting there's a "question mark" about "how long that protection lasts with the third dose." Data produced by the U.K. Health Security Agency indicates booster shots end up being only about 40–50% effective just 10 weeks after injection.
The CDC is now encouraging individuals with weak immune systems to receive four shots — three primary doses and one booster shot. Israel made a fourth Pfizer shot available to people over the age of 60 — with the government claiming the dose yields a fivefold increase in antibodies.
Speaking with CNBC on Monday, Bourla indicated Pfizer could, by the end of March, have a vaccine that specifically targets omicron, but mentioned it may not be necessary.
Conservative commentators criticized Pfizer's CEO over his remarks. Journalist Jordan Schachtel tweeted, "After once claiming his shots are '100% effective,' Pfizer CEO now says 2 COVID shots 'offer very limited protection, if any,' protection against COVID-19."
After once claiming his shots are "100 effective," Pfizer CEO now says 2 COVID shots "offer very limited protection, if any," protection against COVID-19.https://t.co/0TkHI259RL— Jordan Schachtel @ dossier.substack.com (@JordanSchachtel) January 10, 2022
In April 2021, Bourla authored a tweet celebrating the claim that "our COVID-19 vaccine was 100% effective" in South Africa.
Journalist Shannon Joy commented, "Insane. Pfizer CEO says his vaccine product is basically useless. With a straight face. And then recommends Americans get more. ... That's some seriously narcissistic, delusional thinking right there."