In this episode, Ayesha discussed statements from Moderna and Pfizer regarding Omicron and the need for new variant-specific boosters. Moderna’s CEO sparked concerns when he said the current vaccines likely won’t be effective against Omicron, while Pfizer’s CEO said vaccines for COVID-19 will likely be needed for many years. The editorial team discussed the impact of these comments as they were relatively premature given that not much is known about Omicron yet, such as its transmissibility and potential for immune evasion. It’s important for companies to improve on their communications to ensure they’re evidence-based and don’t evoke unnecessary panic among people.
The team also talked about a new hepatitis B vaccine from VBI Vaccines that received FDA approval for adults. The vaccine is the first three-antigen hepatitis B vaccine approved in the US. While hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all infants at birth now, this only began in the early 1990s. About 25 percent of adults in the US are not vaccinated for hepatitis B. The global hepatitis B vaccine market is expected to grow, particularly as several other hepatitis B vaccines were also approved by the FDA in the last couple of years. The World Health Organization (WHO) has laid out a goal to eliminate hepatitis B worldwide by 2030.
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