AstraZeneca’s Pascal Soriot says Covid-19 boosters may not be for everyone — report
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot reportedly thinks that Covid-19 booster shots for young and healthy people may not be wise.
Soriot told the UK Telegraph research suggests that vaccines give healthy people protection against severe disease for a “long time,” meaning most will not need a booster jab to avoid severe complications from the virus. He also noted governments buying booster shots wouldn’t be a good use of taxpayer money.
Despite Soriot’s comments, the scientific consensus remains that booster shots are safe and effective, regardless of age or comorbidities.
“People who are otherwise healthy — especially if they are young, have been vaccinated, have had a boost already — boosting them again, I’m just not sure it’s really a good use of resources,” he added in the Telegraph interview.
Over the coming month, the UK will provide booster shots to people over 50, frontline workers, and people with the underlying condition who are at high risk of developing severe symptoms. The UK will use Pfizer and Moderna’s bivalent booster shots, and not AstraZeneca’s shots.
According to Soriot, most of the people who have been given a shot develop “foundational immunity” against severe disease, and he thinks it is unclear whether “boosting people every year is that critical.”
“I’m not sure it’s a really good use of money because most of the people now who catch it will just have symptoms if they get Covid, and that’s it,” he added in the interview.
While AstraZeneca was a part of the rat race to develop vaccines against the Covid-19 virus, profits were much less than Pfizer, whose vaccine was based on a new, more expensive mRNA technology. AstraZeneca also faced development delays, with NIAID director Anthony Fauci at one point lobbing criticism over data submissions, and saw tension with several European countries who accused the company of failing to meet delivery promises.
Both AstraZeneca and Pfizer delivered similar levels of vaccines in 2021. While Pfizer made $37 billion in revenues from vaccine sales last year, at a profit of $22 billion, AstraZeneca — which pledged to deliver the vaccines at cost during the pandemic — generated $3.9 billion in revenues from its vaccines and made a profit of $115 million in 2021, according to the Telegraph.
Meanwhile, Soriot’s comments come at a time when AstraZeneca forecasts sales of its Covid-19 antibody treatment, Evusheld, will rise amid a decline in vaccine sales. In the US, Evusheld was approved in December 2021 for immunocompromised patients.
AstraZeneca has received government contracts for Evusheld in the US, EU, Canada, Latin America, southeast Asia, Australia, and China.
The UK said that it will not purchase the antibody combo, citing “insufficient data” on the duration of protection it provides against Omicron and its subvariants.