Pfizer and BioNTech have begun clinical trials for the new COVID-19 vaccine. It is targeted specifically at Omicron variants. They say it could become available in late March. 

New York City-based pharmaceutical company, Pharmacists Inc. announced Tuesday it was recruiting 1,420 people for its three cohort study to determine safety and effectiveness.

Albert Bourla, the CEO of the business, stated earlier in the month that the company plans to submit data for approval to FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in March.

The participants may be the same ones who participated in the trials for the booster shot. They are all between 18 and 55 years old, which suggests that the jab is only available initially to those over the age of 18.

A Omicron-specific vaccine was sought by South African officials since late-November when the variant was identified. There were early indications that this could be evaded vaccine protection.

Scientists have since confirmed the existence of the variant and, while vaccine boosters may be effective in boosting immunity, the best way to prevent its spread is with a tailored jab. 

Pfizer has started trials for its Omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine. The jab is being tested in one, two and three dose series. The company hopes to make the shot available as early as  March (file photo)

Pfizer began trials of its Omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccination. Trials are underway for the jab in three dosage levels. The company hopes to make the shot available as early as  March (file photo)

Some experts believe the March rollout of the shots may be too late, as by then the Omicron Covid wave that is already showing signs of receding may be gone altogether. Pictured: A man in Nevada receives a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine on December 21

Experts think that March’s rollout might be premature as Omicron Covid may already be receding. Pictured: On December 21, a man from Nevada received a COVID-19 vaccination shot.

Kathrin Jansen from Pfizer’s Vaccine Research and Development, stated in a statement that despite current data and reality proving boosters provide high levels of protection against serious disease and hospitalizations with Omicron, they recognize the importance of being prepared for the eventuality of this protection waning over time and potentially to help address Omicron and other variants in future.

“Staying alert against the virus means we must find new ways for people to protect themselves. We believe that developing and researching variant-based vaccines is essential to our pursuit of this goal. 

Three different vaccine regimens will be tested in the trial. One shot will be administered to 615 people, followed by two shots for 600 and three shots for 200.

All participants were given the Pfizer vaccine as an additional vaccination. Participants in the one shot group were not given the booster shot, while the participants in the two- and three-shot groups had received it previously. 

This study was part of our science based approach to developing a variant vaccine. The variant-based vaccine achieves an equivalent level of Omicron defense as the earlier variants. However, it provides a greater duration of protection. Ugur Sahin (CEO and co-founder, German-based BioNTech) stated in a statement. 

This vaccine works in a similar way to the Pfizer BioNTech Covid vaccine. It is the most widely used shot in America, and much of the rest. 

Pfizer stated in a statement, that the production of this shot, should it be successful, won’t reduce the company’s ability to make its Covid basic jabs.

“Vaccines offer solid protection against Omicron-related severe diseases. Sahin noted that emerging evidence suggests that vaccine-induced immunity against mild and moderate diseases wanes faster than previously observed. 

BioNTech had initially created the mRNA that would be used in the creation of the vaccine and had already partnered up with Pfizer for a 2018 flu vaccine. After Covid’s arrival, the company’s focus shifted to the development of the vaccine.

Pfizer, Moderna and other competitors may be able to provide Omicron-specific shots soon. However, they’re not convinced that the shots are required.

The effectiveness of booster shots has been shown to restore immunity to Covid infections. Vaccinations can also be used to prevent severe reactions in people not already vaccinated.

Pfizer, the World Health Organization’s Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition asked this month that major pharmaceutical companies abandon making vaccines that require frequent updates and develop shots that last a long time.

Omicron waves are also ending in major countries like the UK and showing signs of receding here in the U.S.

The shot may be unavailable by March, which could mean that it is not needed. This wastes time and money that could have been used to develop other treatment options.

‘By the time we get an Omicron-specific vaccine manufactured, this wave will be over,’ Peter Marks, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA, told the Wall Street Journal earlier this month.