Bourla made the statement during a June 22 appearance on MSNBC program "Morning Joe," in response to a question if Americans should expect yearly COVID-19 boosters.
"I'm almost certain about it. I say 'almost certain' because, of course, regulators have the final say in all of that," he said.
The Pfizer CEO lauded the "beauty" of mRNA technology used in his company's COVID-19 vaccine, adding that even "a very minor change" can result in a "huge difference."
According to Bourla, vaccines can be adapted to address different SARS-CoV-2 variants "just by changing the sequencing" during the manufacturing process. This, he said, makes a difference in the vaccine's safety, efficacy and response to the viral pathogen.
"For this reason, I'm very confident that we'll be able to respond very, very fast to every new variant," he remarked.
Bourla had earlier called for the development of an annual COVID-19 vaccine back in April 2022, arguing that it allows for "greater compliance" with vaccine mandates.
"What the world really needs is a vaccine that can last a year. A vaccine that will be taken once a year is way [easier] to administer and [to] have the population be compliant with it," he said during an April 15 press briefing. (Related: VAXXED FOR LIFE: Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla calls for "greater compliance" with annual COVID vaccines.)
The CEO of the New York-based drug company lamented people’s lukewarm reception toward booster doses, citing the dwindling number of recipients for subsequent doses after the second. This, he explained, is one of the main reasons why Pfizer is working to create an annual vaccine.
"The issue is that right now, we are – in many, many countries – in the fourth dose, and that creates fatigue. Way more people got the second [dose] than the third, [and] I think the compliance with the fourth dose will not be as high. [We] realized that people will not comply with the fourth or fifth vaccination. This is why we need to come [up with] scientific innovations that will allow us to have a vaccine that is annual."
White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci also shared Bourla's thoughts on yearly COVID-19 vaccine boosters. According to the infectious disease expert, Americans should expect to get injected with vaccine boosters on an annual basis.
"We know that immunity wanes over time. Depending upon what this virus does, there is certainly a reasonably good chance that we will have the same sort of situation that we have with influenza – where every year, you have to re-boost people to keep that protection up," Fauci said in an interview with WPIX 11.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) added that COVID-19 is here to stay and the world will “be dealing with this virus on a chronic basis." He nevertheless expressed hope that "it will reach a level low enough that it doesn’t disrupt us to the extent that it has over the past couple of years."
In December 2021, Fauci insinuated the necessity of annual boosters against COVID-19 when he appeared on the ABC program "This Week."
"If it becomes necessary to get yet another boost, then we'll just have to deal with it when that occurs," he told program host George Stephanopoulos in response to the latter asking whether people should expect yearly COVID-19 booster doses.
Ironically, Fauci caught COVID-19 and experienced mild symptoms even though he received multiple doses of the vaccine. In a June 15 press release, the NIAID confirmed that he tested positive for the pathogen.
The press release stated that the infectious disease expert "is fully vaccinated and has been boosted twice," which means that he received a total of four COVID-19 vaccine doses. It added that Fauci "will isolate and continue to work from his home" and "return … when he tests negative."
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Watch Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla below expressing optimism toward injecting children aged two to five with the COVID-19 vaccine.
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