With the vaccine industry as a whole expanding production, “enough doses should be available by the middle of next year so that everyone on this Earth can be vaccinated,” the French billionaire said.
Nearly 80 percent of people in the world’s wealthier nations already have received first doses. But, in part because of supply problems and biotech firms such as Moderna’s selling most early doses to rich countries, the level of first-dose vaccination falls to 20 percent in poorer parts of the world.
President Biden, who like other leaders has faced calls to do more, announced Wednesday that the United States would buy 500 million more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to donate to other countries.
The Moderna boss says he expects that boosters will be needed every one to three years. “We will end up in a situation similar to that of the flu,” he said. “You can either get vaccinated and have a good winter. Or you don’t do it and risk getting sick and possibly even ending up in hospital.”
“We normally see that viruses become less virulent as they circulate more easily,” she said, playing down fears that have sprung from the spread of highly contagious variants.
Other officials have not expressed that level of optimism. England’s chief medical officer warned on Wednesday that unvaccinated children would end up with covid-19 at some point as the virus continues circulating.
“They will get it sooner or later because this is incredibly infectious,” Chris Whitty said. He told lawmakers that vaccines would cut the risk of infection by at least half.
“We’re not going to see a situation where it just sort of stops at a certain point,” he said.