Pfizer and Moderna
The top executives at two of the world's biggest vaccine manufacturers disagree on the necessity of a fourth dose for most of the world's population.
In an interview with CBS on Sunday, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla stated that protection from three shots will wane and a fourth dose is essential "right now".
Despite this, Moderna Inc President Stephen Hoge said that a second booster probably is only required for older people or those with compromised immune systems, with the rest of the public being able to be more selective about getting the shot, according to Business Insider.
Countries are trying to balance living with Covid-19, dealing with a virus-weary or sometimes vaccine-hesitant public, and trying to prevent outbreaks of severe cases that could overwhelm health-care resources.
According to research, booster shots could help reduce the consequences of an infection, though some vaccines reduce the risk of infections caused by the omicron variant better than others.
The fourth dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine failed to prevent infection with omicron, but provided partial defense against it, according to preliminary results of an Israeli trial published in January. Both the country and South Korea are one of the few that provide fourth doses. However, so far only those at greatest risk have gotten it..
As the virus mutates, vaccine makers also face the possibility of more variants emerging.
According to Bourla, Pfizer will soon submit data on the effects of a fourth dose of its Covid-19 vaccine to U.S. regulatory agencies, and he's optimistic about developing a vaccine capable of targeting omicron for use with earlier variants.
According to Business Insider, Moderna believes that a bivalent booster, which targets both omicron and the original virus strain, could be available this year.
Even if young, healthy people opt out of a booster, Hoge intends to get one out every year to prevent the virus's long-term effects.
"Is it necessary? I think that’s a strong word. I think it will provide a benefit to anyone who gets it,” he said, referring to boosters. "Whether or not public health continues to recommend it for everybody is a more complicated thing, because not everybody’s wanting to get the first couple ones.”