A fourth coronavirus vaccine dose may be needed to boost protection against the new omicron variant, the head of Pfizer has said after initial tests showed the strain may undermine the antibody protection provided by a standard double dose.
Albert Bourla said the company was waiting to see real-world data to determine if additional doses would be required specifically for omicron. That data is expected in a few weeks.
Omicron has now been reported in at least 57 countries, according to the World Health Organisation. American officials say most of the cases detected in the US so far have induced a mild form of Covid-19.
In the UK, Boris Johnson announced ‘plan B’ restrictions will be introduced in England from as early as next week, including guidance to work from home and vaccine passports being made mandatory at nightclubs and larger venues.
Sajid Javid, the health secretary, has said he believes there are about 10,000 cases of omicron in the UK, though only 568 have been confirmed so far. He said the figure could hit 1 million before the end of the year.