A woman wears a facemask as she walks by the Pfizer world headquarters in New York on November 9, 2020.
Enlarge / A woman wears a facemask as she walks by the Pfizer world headquarters in New York on November 9, 2020.

Pfizer's chief executive has warned that the world will be hit by new waves of the virus in the coming months and that it will cost lives.

Albert Bourla said people were tired of the measures introduced to slow the spread of the virus, while politicians wanted to claim victory.

He said that this combination of waning immunity from previous infections and vaccinations was likely to lead to Covid variant and deaths.

Bourla said that people are ready to compromise and lower the bar, rather than having to work with a mask.

He said that the consequences could be seen in three to six months.

According to Airfinity, global demand for Covid vaccines has halved since the start of the year. The health data group said people in rich nations were less likely to take a booster shot.

Pfizer on Wednesday unveiled an initiative to offer all of its patent-protected medicines and vaccines, including the Covid jab, to 45 lower-income nations on a not-for-profit basis.

The first countries to sign on to the accord for a healthier world were Uganda, and they will help identify and resolve hurdles beyond the supply of medicines.


Pfizer invited other pharmaceutical companies to join the initiative, which is partly funded by the Bill Gates Foundation, and asked governments, global health authorities and philanthropists to provide public and private funding.

Bourla said that the initiative was not linked to Pfizer's opposition to the World Trade Organization proposal.

I don't connect the two. I think it is the right thing to do, he said.

Nancy Jecker, professor of bioethics at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, said that while Pfizer's plan was welcome news, it should not be left to for-profit companies to set policy during global health emergencies.

She said that governments must act to ensure health equity.

In the US, Bourla was concerned that Congress' failure to approve the Biden administration's request for $22.5 billion in funds for Covid vaccines and treatments could leave the nation short of supply.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 100,000 daily cases of the virus in the US. The seven-day average of daily deaths has fallen below their January 2021 peak.

Pfizer was doubling down on Paxlovid because it believed that it would be the main tool to control the Pandemic until more durable vaccines were developed.

He said that Pfizer was watching the monkeypox outbreak very closely. There were questions about how it had spread, but his discussions with Pfizer's scientists suggested there was not much concern.

Bourla played down the idea that Pfizer would use the profits from Covid vaccine sales to fund large acquisitions.

It's not the time for Pfizer to do a large deal, because you need to cut costs from putting together the two. I don't want to spend the next three years closing research centers.

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