With the hyper-rapid spread of the new Omicron variant currently ravaging all of Europe, Pfizer's CEO believes a second booster shot, so a fourth shot in total, might very well be necessary.
Will a fourth shot really be needed?
Albert Bourla, Chief Executive Officer of the pharmaceutical giant, has made it public that he thinks that a fourth shot will be needed to fight off the rise of the new coronavirus mutation. However, he has also made it clear that this will only be 100% known once we gather enough information about the new strain and how it affects people. He said:
When we see real-world data, [we] will determine if the Omicron is well covered by the third dose and for how long. And the second point, I think we will need a fourth dose.
As it stands currently, research has shown that the Omicron is nowhere near as deadly as the Delta variant was, but that it is in fact more transmissible. American epidemiologist Anthony Fauci explained that:
There is some suggestion that it might even be less severe, because when you look at some of the cohorts that are being followed in South Africa, the ratio between the number of infections and the number of hospitalisations seems to be less than with Delta.
The worst case scenario is that it is not only highly transmissible, but it also causes severe disease and then you have another wave of infections that are not necessarily blunted by the vaccine or by people's prior infections.
How will the people react?
Bourla's suggestions now reinforce the theory that some scientists have proposed regarding annual vaccination to prevent massive outbreaks from taking over. On the other hand, the need for yearly jabs against the virus might result in a revolt, as was observed during the uproar of protests as seen in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany in the last couple of months.