Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla stated on Monday that two doses of the company's vaccine may not provide strong protection against infection from the Omicron COVID variant, adding that the initial shots had also lost some of their efficacy in preventing hospitalization.

Bourla, in an interview with J.P. Morgan's healthcare conference, underlined the significance of a third dose to increase people's defense against omicron.

"The two doses, they're not enough for omicron," Bourla said. "The third dose of the current vaccine is providing quite good protection against deaths, and decent protection against hospitalizations."

Omicron is a more difficult target than prior variants, according to Bourla. The variant has dozens of mutations, can bypass some of Pfizer's original two shots' protection.

According to statistics from the U.K. Health Security Agency, two vaccine doses are 52% effective at preventing hospitalization 25 weeks after having the second injection in real-world data from the U.K.

Moreover, two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are only approximately 10% effective at preventing omicron infection 20 weeks after the second dose. Data. A booster dosage is up to 75% effective in preventing symptomatic infection and 88% effective in preventing hospitalization.

However, Bourla said it's unknown how long a booster dose will provide protection against COVID. Boosters are only 40% to 50% effective against infection 10 weeks after having the shot, according to the health body.

"The question mark, it is how long that protection lasts with the third dose," Bourla said.

Pfizer and BioNTech secured FDA permission earlier this month to broaden the emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine booster doses to individuals 12 years of age and older. The FDA also lowered the duration between a second dose and a booster dose from at least six months to at least five months.

In the event that a third dose of its current BNT162b2 vaccine does not protect against the Omicron variant or other future variants, the pharmaceutical giant previously stated that it would be able to develop and produce a tailor-made vaccine against the Omicron variant in approximately 100 days, subject to regulatory approval.

Over 74.5 million fully vaccinated Americans have received a COVID-19 booster shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pfizer and BioNTech had delivered 1 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to low- and middle-income nations as of Dec. 29, according to reports. In 2022, the companies plan to supply an additional 1 billion doses to these countries.