Although COVID-19 rates appear to be declining across the U.S., the CEO of Pfizer said in an announcement on Mar. 13 that Americans will need to boost up their immunity against the disease with a fourth vaccine dose.
“It is necessary for most people,” CEO Albert Bourla said during an interview on CBS’s Face The Nation. “Right now, the protection that you’re getting from the third [shot], it is good enough — actually quite good for hospitalizations and deaths — it’s not that good against infections, but doesn’t last very long,” he argued, according to The New York Post.
Bourla also noted that the two initial Pfizer doses coupled with a booster might not be enough to protect against emerging variants because of its propensity to wane after a few months.
“Omicron was the first [variant] that was able to evade, in a skillful way the immune protection that we’re given, but also in all that the duration of the protection doesn’t last very long,” the health official continued.
In January, Bourla announced that Pfizer was working on an Omicron-specific vaccine that could help to provide greater protection against the COVID-19 strain, however, he admitted that there’s still not enough research quite yet to support the need the preventative measure.
“What we are trying to do and we are working very diligently right now to make not only a vaccine that will protect against all variants, including Omicron, but also something that can protect for at least a year.”
According to recent data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 74 percent of the total population in the United States have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
For Black and Brown people, it appears as though hesitancies about the vaccine may be shifting in the community. As of Mar. 7, the CDC reported that African Americans now make up 10 percent of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine compared to 12 percent of the total population. However, the vaccination rate among the group has risen in the last fourteen days, now hovering at 16 percent. The Hispanic community makes up a larger portion of the vaccinated population at 21 percent, with newly vaccinated members among the community rising to 38 percent compared to their share of the total population at 17 percent.
The numbers remain relatively low for African Americans and Hispanics receiving their third additional booster. According to the CDC, “62% of booster recipients were White, 8% were Black, 8% were Asian, and 15% were Hispanic.”