Pfizer CEO predicts ‘constant waves’ of COVID-19 because of complacency about the coronavirus and politicization of the pandemic

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla speaks during a ceremony in Thessaloniki, Greece, on Oct. 12, 2021. On Friday, Nov. 19, 2021.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos, File

  • Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla warned Wednesday of “constant waves” of COVID-19.

  • He pointed to complacency about the virus, politicization of the pandemic, and diminishing immunity.

  • Cases are rising in the US and the rate at which people are getting vaccinated is falling.

The world is likely to suffer from “constant waves” of COVID-19, the CEO of Pfizer warned Wednesday.

Albert Bourla pointed to complacency about the virus, politicization of the pandemic, and diminishing immunity from vaccines and prior infections, according to comments reported by the Financial Times.

People are also growing “tired” of COVID-19 safety regulations, said Bourla, who was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where world leaders and members of the business elite are gathered for an annual summit.

Though COVID-19 cases are falling globally, in the US they’ve been gradually rising since early April, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. In the week to May 22, the US reported 790,000 new cases, more than three times as many as were reported in the last week of March.

Pfizer said on May 3 it expects 2022 revenue from Comirnaty, its COVID-19 vaccine, of around $32 billion.

“What worries me is the complacency,” Bourla said in Davos, noting that fewer people were wearing masks and that even people who have already been vaccinated were less likely to get booster shots. The consequences would likely be seen in between three and six months, he predicted.

Bourla said Pfizer believed that antiviral drugs would replace vaccines as the key weapon in fighting the coronavirus, at least until shots providing a longer period of immunity were developed. Pfizer was “doubling down” on producing its antiviral pill Paxlovid, Bourla added.

Pfizer on Wednesday announced that it would provide all its current and future patent-protected medicines and vaccines available in the US and EU on a not-for-profit basis to 45 lower-income countries, which it said collectively had 1.2 billion residents.

There have been more than 526 million reported COVID-19 cases globally and 6.28 million deaths, data from Johns Hopkins University shows.

Almost 11.5 billion doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been given globally, according to the data, but the rate at which people are getting vaccinated is falling. In the week to June 27, 2021, around 325.5 million doses were administered. In the week to May 22, 2022, just 38.6 million vaccines were given, per the data.

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