Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on March 13 that a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine would be necessary, claiming it would continue to reduce hospitalizations.
Saying Americans would have to figure out “how to live” with the virus, Bourla then claimed it was likely people would have to get yearly COVID-19 boosters.
“We know that the duration of the [vaccine] protection doesn’t last very long,” Bourla said. "If you get sick, you can get sick again next year. ... Right now, the way that we have seen, it is necessary—a fourth booster right now.
"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."
The CEO didn't provide data or evidence for the claim, and he also made no mention of natural immunity as a result of prior COVID-19 infection. In the interview, Bourla also didn't touch on COVID-19 vaccine mandates or passport systems required to enter restaurants, gyms, theaters, and other venues in some places.
Pfizer saw its COVID-19 vaccine profits increase significantly to $37 billion in the past year, with its overall revenues doubling to $81 billion in 2021. The firm in February said it expects to make $97 billion in 2022.
With the earnings report, the pharmaceutical company was accused of profiting off the pandemic by Global Justice Now, a social justice organization based in the United Kingdom.
“The development of mRNA vaccines should have revolutionized the global COVID response," the group said in February. “But we’ve let Pfizer withhold this essential medical innovation from much of the world, all while ripping off public health systems with an eye-watering mark-up.”
A Pfizer spokesperson told news outlets that the company was “firmly committed to equitable and affordable access” to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It is not as simple as sharing the ‘recipe.' Manufacturing of the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid vaccine involves the use of over 280 materials. There is enormous collaboration already taking place.”