Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla is being criticised by one of Australia’s top doctors for claiming a fourth dose of the Covid-19 is ‘necessary’.
The pharmceutical company boss told CBS’ Face The Nation that Pfizer submitted data to the US Food and Drug Administration to help develop a fourth dose of the vaccine.
He said while having a third dose helps protect against severe disease, it’s ineffective in warding off infections in the long term.
"Many variants are coming, and Omicron was the first one that was able to evade - in a skillful way - the immune protection that we're giving," he said.
"The protection we are getting from the third (dose) it is good enough - actually quite good for hospitalisations and deaths. It's not that good against infections.”
He continued: "It is necessary, a fourth (dose) for right now.”
However, Australia’s former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said the fourth dose is just a ploy for these companies to accumulate more revenue from another vaccine.
“Pfizer would do the world a favour if they stopped talking about fourth (COVID-19) doses," he explained to news.com.au.
“It’s not their role, it probably borders on irresponsible to be talking about fourth doses when there’s a significant number of people around the world who haven’t had the opportunity to get vaccinated.
“It’s also purely designed to generate revenue from wealthy countries worried about fourth doses.”
He said Pfizer should instead direct their profits to help address pneumococcal disease, which he claims is a ‘bigger issue’ than Covid-19.
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus.
These infections can affect the ear, cause sinus infections, pneumonia and bloodstream infections.
The disease is a major health crisis in poverty-stricken nations, and The World Health Organization estimates 300,000 children under five die from the infection every year.
Despite a vaccine created 20 years ago, it’s not affordable to many low-income countries, and Dr. Coatsworth has called on the pharmaceutical industry to make the vaccine more accessible.
Hey @pfizer instead of doing press releases about how we all need a 4th dose of COVID 19 vaccine, how about you really surprise us and provide pneumococcal vaccine at cost to all low income nations. Be like Astra. #covid19aus— Dr. Nick Coatsworth 🇺🇦 (@nick_coatsworth) March 14, 2022
Dr. Coatsworth also took to Twitter yesterday (March 15), slamming Pfizer for alleging a fourth booster shot is needed, and said they should instead focus on more pressing global health issues.
“Hey Pfizer instead of doing press releases about how we all need a 4th dose of Covid 19 vaccine, how about you really surprise us and provide pneumococcal vaccine at cost to all low income nations," he said.
"Be like Astra[Zeneca].”
In 2021, Pfizer brought in a record-breaking US$37 billion in revenue from its vaccine, officially making it some of the most lucrative products in history.
Featured Image Credit: Australia Government Department of Health/Alamy