Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, speaks to a press conference after a visit to monitor the production of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s factory in Puurs, Belgium, on April 23, 2021.
John Thys | Swimming pool | Reuters
There will be a return to normal life within a year, Pfizer CEO and Chairman Albert Bourla said on Sunday, adding that annual Covid vaccinations will likely be required.
“Within a year, I think we’ll be able to get back to normal life,” Bourla said in an interview with ABC’s This Week.
Returning to normal life will come with reservations, he said: “I don’t think this means that the variants will get stuck, and I don’t think that this means that we should be able to live our lives without vaccinations.” said Bourla. “But that too remains to be seen.”
Bourla’s prediction of when normal life will resume coincides with that of Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel. “As of today, in a year, I assume,” said Bancel of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, according to Reuters, on Thursday when he was asked about his assessment of a return to normal life.
To achieve this, Pfizer’s Bourla suggested that annual vaccinations against the coronavirus will likely be required.
“The most likely scenario for me is that because of the spread of the virus around the world, there will continue to be new variants,” Bourla said. “Also, we’ll have vaccines that will last at least a year and I think the most likely scenario is annual vaccination, but we don’t really know, we have to wait for the dates.”
On Friday, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, distributing Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 booster vaccinations to people in high-risk professional and institutional settings, a move that overridden an advisory panel. Walensky approved the distribution of the booster to older Americans and adults with pre-existing conditions at least six months after their first series of vaccinations, in accordance with the advisory panel.
The World Health Organization strongly opposes the widespread adoption of booster vaccinations, saying that wealthier nations should give extra doses to countries with minimal vaccination rates.
Bourla said on Sunday that it was “not right to decide whether or not to approve boosters” based on criteria other than “whether the boosters are needed”.
On Tuesday, Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, criticized Moderna and Pfizer for not giving away vaccination-related intellectual property in order to speed up vaccination rates around the world.
“While Moderna and Pfizer are focused on selling expensive vaccines to rich countries, they are doing next to nothing to fill the global vaccine supply gap. Shameful, “said Frieden on Twitter.
Bourla said it was not a good idea to distribute intellectual property.
“Intellectual property created the thriving life sciences sector that was ready when the pandemic broke out,” said Bourla. “Without that, we wouldn’t be here to discuss whether or not we would be with us because we didn’t have vaccines… Besides, we’re very proud of what we’ve done. I do not know why [Frieden] use these words. We are very proud. We have saved millions of lives. “
Pfizer sells vaccines at different prices to countries with different levels of wealth. Developing countries are buying vaccines at cost from Pfizer, Bourla said. And Bourla pointed out that Pfizer is selling a billion doses of vaccine to the US government at cost. The US government will then donate those vaccine doses “free of charge and completely free of charge to the world’s poorest countries,” he said.