WHO rep: Pfizer vax vs Omicron in March may be too late for high risk nations
MANILA, Philippines — Pfizer’s Omicron-targeted COVID-19 vaccine may be “too late” for countries that are currently experiencing a surge in infections, World Health Organization (WHO) country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said on Wednesday.
Pfizer recently said that their COVID-19 vaccine, specifically fighting the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, may be out by March.
“If you’re talking about managing the spread of the variant in countries that are already seeing a surge, maybe too late,” Abeyasinghe said during the Laging Handa briefing.
“So, it may be useful to prevent infection in people who are still have risk of getting Omicron but if it’s only going to be released in May, maybe too late for countries like the Philippines and other countries that are seeing a surge now,” he said.
Abeyasinghe was also uncertain whether Pfizer’s to-be-released vaccine “will be useful for new future variants.”
He noted that all vaccines listed by the health agency are “capable of preventing severe disease and death.”
“So, the new type of vaccine that we’re looking for is the vaccine that can prevent people from getting infected with mild symptoms,” said the WHO official.
To date, there are 43 Omicron variants detected in the country.
The Philippines has surpassed three million COVID-19 cases on Tuesday after recording a single-day tally of 28,007 new infections.
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