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Omicron May Require Fourth Vaccine Dose, Pfizer Says

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Officials at Pfizer announced Wednesday that the new Omicron variant could increase the chance that people will require the fourth vaccine earlier than anticipated.

The standard dose of two doses could be less effective against the variant, the company announced earlier in the day. Moreover, a booster dose increases neutralizing antibodies.

But the timeline might have to be shifted to accommodate the fourth dose. In the past, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla PhD, suggested that another dose could be needed around one year after the third shot. Now the company’s scientists believe that a fourth shot, which targets the Omicron variant, may be required sooner.

“With Omicron we need to wait, see and hope because we are only given a tiny amount of information. Bourla said that we might require it sooner on CNBC’s Box.

He added, “But for now, the most important thing is that winter is just ahead of us.” “From an ophthalmology perspective it is essential to recognize that we need to be well-protected through winter.”

Bourla said that a third dose would provide protection through the winter. That may buy time until springtime to create new shots that target Omicron which Pfizer may have ready in March, according to theBloomberg News.

According to The Associated Press, 43 people had confirmed positive for Omicron variant as of Wednesday afternoon. More than 75% of those who confirmed positive for the Omicron variant were vaccinated and one third had received booster shots. A third of them had traveled internationally.

According to the Associated Press, almost all of them have experienced mild symptoms thus far. The most frequent symptoms include a cough and congestion, fatigue, and headaches. One person was admitted to the hospital, but no deaths have been reported so far.

The CDC is still trying determine how the Omicron variant might impact the course and severity of the pandemic.

“What we’re generally aware of is that the more mutations a variant has the greater the level you need your immunity to be,” Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the CDC, told the AP.

She explained that “we want to ensure that everyone’s immunity is boosted.” “And that’s really what motivated the decision to broaden our guidelines [on boosters] for all adultsand children.”

The Omicron variant has been reported in 57 countries so far, World Health Organization officials reported on Wednesday and they expect the number to continue to grow.

“Certain aspects of Omicron that are unique, such as its global spread and a large number of mutations, suggest it could have a significant impact on the course of the pandemic. It’s not yet clear what the impact will be,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (PhD), the director-general of the World Health Organization, stated in a briefing to the media.

A number of studies have suggested that Omicron leads to an increase in transmission, he noted, though scientists are still trying to determine if it is able to “outcompete Delta.” The data from South Africa also suggests a higher risk of reinfection with Omicron, though it appears to cause less severe disease than Delta and Delta, he added.

“Even though we still need answers to some critical questions, we’re not defenseless against Omicron or Delta,” he said. “How Omicron develops will depend on the actions taken by countries today and in the upcoming days and week.”

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