Albert Burla, CEO of Pfizer, speaks at a press conference after a visit to oversee production of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s plant in Bourse, Belgium on April 23, 2021.
John Theiss | pool | Reuters
There will be a return to normal life within a year, said Albert Burla, CEO and president of Pfizer, on Sunday, adding that annual Covid vaccinations will likely be necessary.
“Within a year, I think we will be able to return to a normal life,” Borla said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week”.
Returning to normal life, he said, would have caveats: “I don’t think that means that the variables won’t keep coming up, and I don’t think that it means that we should be able to live our lives without vaccinations,” Borla said. It is not yet clear.”
Borla’s prediction about when to resume normal life is in line with the expectations of Stefan Bancel, CEO of Morna. “From today, in a year’s time, I suppose,” Bansel told the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung, according to Reuters on Thursday, when asked about his appreciation for returning to normal life.
In order to achieve this, Pfizer’s Borla suggested that an annual coronavirus vaccine would likely be needed.
“The most likely scenario for me is that because the virus spreads around the world, it will continue to see new variables emerge,” Borla said. “Also we will have vaccinations that will last for at least a year, and I think the most likely scenario is an annual vaccination, but we don’t really know, we need to wait and see the data.”
On Friday, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walinsky, authorized the distribution of Covid-19 booster shots from Pfizer and BioNTech to those in high-risk professional and institutional settings, a move that an advisory panel called off. Walensky agreed to distribute the booster shots to older Americans and adults with underlying medical conditions at least six months after the first shot series, in line with the advisory panel.
The World Health Organization is vehemently opposed to the widespread use of booster doses, saying that wealthier countries should give extra doses to countries with lower vaccination rates.
On Sunday, Burla said it was “not right to decide whether or not to agree” to any criteria other than “whether reinforcements are needed”.
On Tuesday, Tom Frieden, the former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, criticized Moderna and Pfizer for not sharing vaccination intellectual property more widely to help accelerate global vaccination rates.
“While focusing on selling expensive vaccines to rich countries, Moderna and Pfizer are doing almost nothing to bridge the global gap in vaccine supply. It’s a shame,” Frieden said on Twitter.
It’s not a good idea to brandish intellectual property, Burla said.
“Intellectual property is what created the thriving life sciences sector that was ready when the pandemic broke out,” Burla said. “Without that, we wouldn’t be here to discuss whether or not we weren’t with us because we wouldn’t get the vaccines… Also, we’re very proud of what we’ve done. I don’t know why [Frieden] uses these words. We are very proud. We have saved millions of lives.”
Pfizer sells vaccines at different prices to countries with different levels of wealth. Burla said developing countries are buying vaccines at cost from Pfizer. Borla pointed to the fact that Pfizer sells one billion doses of vaccine to the US government at cost. He said the US government would then donate those doses of the vaccine “at no cost and completely free to the world’s poorest countries”.