Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that he believes that a vaccine-resistant Covid-19 variant would likely emerge one day but his company is prepared to come up with a variant-specific vaccine in the next three months. Bourla made the statement on Tuesday during a Fox Newssegment.
However, a Pfizer spokesperson later said that although the company has a system in place to develop a variant-specific vaccine, if more Americans take the shot, chances of such a mutation occurring will reduce. Over 50 percent of the Americans are now fully vaccinated, while 61 percent have received their first dose.
Bourla sounded confident about Pfizer coming up with a variant-specific vaccine in less than three months. If that happens, it will be a big achievement given the way the Covid-19 virus has mutated over the last year.
"Every time that a variant appears in the world, our scientists are getting their hands around it," Bourla said. "And they are researching to see if this variant can escape the protection of our vaccine. We haven't identified any yet, but we believe that it is likely that one day, one of them will emerge," he added.
Bourla's comments come just a day after the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine was given full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ending a much-repeated complaint among anti-vaxxers that the shots had not been fully approved.
However, a spokesperson of the company also stressed that if more Americans get vaccinated, chances of the virus mutating will also reduce, in which case such a variant-specific vaccine may not always be required.
That said, the approval of the Pfizer jab also paves the way for employers and businesses to enact vaccine mandates for employees and customers.
What's in Store?
This is not the first time this concern of vaccine evasion has been brought up, but experts are split on opinions. According to CDC data, 62.5 percent of adult Americans are fully vaccinated against, with 73.1% receiving at least one dose.
Now that the Pfizer vaccine has got full approval, things might change for the better. Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said on Tuesday that a survey suggested that 30 percent of those hesitant to take the vaccine would now consider taking it given that it has received full approval.
The full approval is a positive sign toward instilling confidence in the anti-vaxxers but Bourla at the same time also said that Pfizer is prioritizing marketing of vaccines to ease vaccine hesitancy. Instead, its focus is on increasing supply to meet global demand.