Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla warned that a vaccine-resistant Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) strain could “likely” emerge. He made the warning during an Aug. 24 Fox News appearance, but nevertheless assured that Pfizer scientists are working on vaccines to address it. Bourla’s comments came a day after the New York-based firm’s BNT162b2 Comirnaty vaccine received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Pfizer executive told America’s Newsroom host Dana Perino on Aug. 24: “Every time a [SARS-CoV-2] variant appears in the world, our scientists are getting their hands around it. [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.”
Bourla touted a company process that allowed scientists to develop a vaccine to address certain COVID-19 variants. “We have built a process that within 95 days from … [when] we identify a variant as a variant of concern, we will be able to have a vaccine tailor-made against [it],” he told Perino.
Bourla’s Fox News appearance happened a day after the FDA fully approved its mRNA vaccine. In an Aug. 23 statement, Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said: “While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated.”
The full approval allowed Pfizer to advertise the Comirnaty vaccine, but Bourla clarified that marketing the COVID-19 shot is not a priority at this time. Instead, Pfizer focused on increasing vaccine supply to meet global demand and keep up with emerging variants. “I don’t think right now for us, it’s a priority to do anything different than what we do,” Bourla said.
The Pfizer CEO was not the first one to warn of the possible emergence of vaccine-resistant strains. During a late July 2021 press conference, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned that SARS-CoV-2 could mutate and potentially evade existing vaccines.
“The big concern is that the next variant that might emerge, just a few mutations potentially away, could potentially evade our vaccines,” she said. Walensky continued that the largest concern in public health and science was the number of mutations SARS-CoV-2 needs to undergo before it becomes “a very transmissible virus that has the potential to evade … vaccines in terms of … [protecting against] severe disease and death.” (Related: Medical experts: Herd immunity IMPOSSIBLE with the delta variant circulating and vaccines breeding mutant strains.)
However, one doctor pointed out the role of vaccines and mass inoculation in the emergence of the B16172 delta variant and other SARS-CoV-2 strains that bypass vaccine-induced immunity. Dr. Peter McCullough of Baylor University Medical Center claimed that COVID-19 vaccines fueled the spread of vaccine-resistant strains during a July 22 interview.
McCullough mentioned the role of the Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 in the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 strains in different countries. The vaccine made by the Chinese company was used by a number of developing countries for their mass inoculation programs.
“In the case of India, it was the use of the Sinovac vaccine that really promoted the emergence of the delta variant. [Now,] we’re seeing Sinovac again being the stimulus for the emergence of the [C37] lambda variant out of Peru. So mass vaccination, as opposed to targeted vaccination, is in a sense creating the problem of this immune escape of the virus,” McCullough said.
The expert continued: “What’s going on is [that] the delta variant …has undergone antigenic [or] immune escape … and it’s avoiding the antibodies of the vaccine and causing [COVID-19] illness in individuals. Fortunately, it’s mild and it’s more easily treated.”
According to McCullough, the B16172 strain is just one strain in “a sequence of variance that … [arose] as a result of mass vaccination.”
He ultimately warned: “The great fear is that the vaccinated will assume they are protected, when in fact they’re not.” (Related: Vaccinated people causing vaccine-resistant coronavirus strains to emerge: Study.)
McCullough cited examples from Israel and the U.K., in which a large percentage of individuals who contracted COVID-19 were vaccinated. He said that about 80 percent of COVID-19 cases in Israel involved vaccinated people, and 60 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, 75 percent of COVID-19 patients in the U.K. were vaccinated and 40 percent of those hospitalized for COVID-19 were fully vaccinated.
VaccineDamage.news has more stories about vaccine-resistant COVID-19 strains and the role of vaccines in their emergence.