Pfizer Promises an “Omicron-Specific” Vaccine by March

Emma

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

Pfizer Promises an “Omicron-Specific” Vaccine by March

Albert Bourla, CEO of game-changing COVID vaccine heavyweight Pfizer, has pledged a brand-new vaccine formulated to combat the Omicron variant specifically. 

The new Omicron vaccine is slated to be released sometime in March, and the public health community is abuzz in anticipation of what’s to come. Here’s everything we know so far about the Pfizer Omicron vaccine. 

Boula to CNBC: An Omicron Vaccine Is On the Way

In a recent media appearance with CNBC’s Squawk Box, Pfizer CEO Albert Boula had promising news to share with the world.

An Omicron-specific COVID vaccine is already underway; the first wave of these vaccines is already in production, a service that the company has committed itself to at cost.

What Else Is Unique About This Vaccine?

This new vaccine will allegedly be able to do much more than fight the Omicron variant alone, according to Boula’s press statement. He claims that this latest vaccine version will also be effective against previous variants, including the Delta variant.

He elaborates further:

“The hope is that we will achieve something that will have way, way better protection, particularly against infections. The protection against hospitalization and severe disease – it is reasonable right now, with the current vaccines, as long as you’ve [been administered at least two doses previously].”

What’s Wrong With Our Current Vaccines From Moderna and Pfizer?

It’s no secret that these coronavirus vaccines are much more effective when you receive every prescribed dose. Other groups of researchers, however, raise a compelling point about the efficacy of each vaccine when those doses aren’t administered in a timely manner.

According to this new data, the success rate of the publicly-available COVID-19 vaccines currently on the market drops to 10% after ten weeks have passed. 

While a round of COVID vaccination spread too thinly throughout time will certainly provide more protection than skipping your vaccination completely, a lax vaccination schedule has been shown to be significantly less effective at preventing a symptomatic infection, one that you’ll be able to spread to others.

This is actually the reason that booster shots have found their way into popular use during these troubling times. They’ve been shown to be 75% effective against an eventual COVID-related hospitalization across the board. 

Our leaders recognize the importance of two things: preventing the COVID sprawl and reducing rates of infection, and keeping people out of hospitals. To the layman, these two objectives may appear to be one and the same. The science behind every leap and breakthrough, however, paints a much more nuanced picture of the coronavirus for us.

What Does the CDC Have to Say?

Dr. Fauci of the Centers for Disease Control has been very vocal about the possibility of an imminent Omicron surge in 2022. This rising sense of fear may be why he and his entourage have been so insistent about booster shot recommendations for everybody.

This announcement for a new Omicron vaccine rolls off of the back of recent reports of an unprecedented increase in reported Omicron infections globally. Some experts are throwing in the towel as far as the future of COVID vaccination is concerned—it’s a moot point. The numbers don’t lie.

To this end, the possibility of attaining herd immunity still acts as a beacon of hope for many. Experts who subscribe to this school of thought foresee the human race outpacing the coronavirus. The idea is that if enough people are immunized through exposure or through medical intervention, the virus will eventually run out of new victims to occupy, driving it into extinction.

The research suggests that this might be one of the only possible avenues to a COVID-free future. It’s worth mentioning that vaccines do provide some degree of damage control outside this context, even if the virus’s impact on the lives of everyday people is the only thing that they’re able to minimize.

Will a Fourth COVID Vaccine Soon Become the Norm?

After the overwhelming success of the COVID booster shot campaign globally, many in the public health community are calling for a fourth shot to be considered a standard part of the package for everybody. Is this the best way to proceed for all people, though?

The spirit behind Pfizer’s latest effort against the coronavirus appears to be aiming for an alternative resolution for this conundrum. Instead of resigning the world’s people to an endless string of COVID vaccines and boosters, the brand is hoping to improve the efficacy of the first part of the series by reworking the vaccine from the ground up.

Insiders have described this vaccine as being “tailor-made” for the Omicron variant in particular. Those close to these developments lament our current vaccines’ impotence against Omicron; success against this variant may also be a positive indicator of success against the Delta variant, as well as the original SARS-CoV-2 virus to begin with.

Why a Booster Shot Isn’t Always Enough

Truly, the driving forces behind our current obsession with booster shots are the implications of something that’s been dubbed, appropriately enough, “long COVID,” both in the media and in the scientific literature, as well. 

Long COVID is a term that describes the long-term effects of the coronavirus. When personal responsibility fails, a booster shot may be able to bridge the gap, protecting both the truant and those that they come into contact with afterward.

There are two possible paths that we may be heading toward- more vaccines in succession or a much more effective vaccine overall. In either case, we’ve got a long way to go.

Is a Perfect COVID-19 Vaccine Even Possible?

The unfortunate truth is that this disease is constantly evolving. We simply don’t know when the next Omicron-caliber strain will emerge above the rest or even what new capabilities the next major COVID variant will end up bringing to the table. Only time will tell, and the scientific community is scrambling to prepare the world for what’s to come. 

Pfizer, one of the most inspiring sources of hope when the pandemic first hit us, is at the helm of this progressive vaccine movement. We’re eager to see what the company finds in the coming months and years ahead. 

Emma

Medically reviewed by:

Emma Garofalo is a writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. A lover of science, art, and all things culinary, few things excite her more than the opportunity to learn about something new." It is now in the sheet in the onboarding paperwork, apologies!!

Medically reviewed by:

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