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Moderna CEO says pandemic could be over in a year: Report

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Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani gives a Covid-19 update as the CDC advisory committee is set to vote on Pfizer booster data

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, CDC Advisory Committee is set to provide a little more clarity on those COVID-19 booster shots, specifically the agency looking to determine who qualifies for that third shot and also weigh in on Pfizer and BioNTech booster shot. Let's bring in Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani who is tracking all of the developments for us. Anjalee.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Thanks, Akiko. Yeah, so the CDC Advisory Committee is set to take a vote on the Pfizer booster data and make a recommendation to the CDC on exactly who qualifies for this booster shot and that is set to start at noon today.

Meanwhile, we got word last night from the FDA that did go ahead and authorize those booster shots, based on the advisory panel last week. That includes a six month after the initial course, 65 and older, 18 and older with high risk, and 18 and older with occupational hazards. And that risk includes individuals who are health care workers, grocery workers, individuals who are also in prisons or in homeless shelters, and teachers, and daycare staff.

So that's a really wide range and the CDC's advisory panel is basically tasked with identifying the specific individuals that would then benefit. So we'll get a little bit more detail on who will qualify and then that will sort of end the process for the first authorized booster dose that we have in here in the US. And we, of course, know that right behind Pfizer is going to be Moderna.

And speaking of Moderna, we heard from a report from a Swiss newspaper that the CEO there has anticipated that the pandemic will end by the end of next year. That goes in stark contrast to what the World Health Organization and other officials have said, knowing that the vaccination, a global vaccination efforts are still a little bit on the lower end, not quite where people want it to be in order to help eradicate this virus.

So it's going to be interesting to see if that prediction comes true, but that's where things stand right now, Akiko.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, Anjalee, are you a little surprised? That seems like a very optimistic outlook, when on a daily basis, at least, we're talking about all of the uncertainties that are still involved. And of course, we're talking about the US today and potential recommendations coming on the booster but there's still a big chunk of the population around the world that still hasn't gotten that first dose.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Most notably, low-income and the middle-income countries, and that's where a lot of the focus really is. Is the access that they need in order to prevent newer variants from producing and those variants that could potentially, in the worst-case scenario, escape vaccine protection.

Already, there was a bit of a scare with the Beta variant, that's the one that originated in South Africa. That one was probably the one that gave experts a little bit of the heebie-jeebies when it came to vaccine production. But as it stands right now, there are no variants that have escaped entirely the protection and that's good news for now.

We know that other experts, global health experts, have said that the pandemic could last until 2023 and that's sort of where things have stood for quite some time. So, at this whole idea that the pandemic would end next year, is very different.

Also important to note that Moderna specifically, while it is one of the leaders here in the US when it comes to vaccine production, it's pretty limited and sort of tapped out when it comes to its commitments. And so, you know, just want to mention that there in terms of the available doses that will be coming out of that company, compared to all the others that are either coming down the pike or its main competitor Pfizer.

- And heebie-jeebies we should note, a medical term there. Anjalee Khemlani, as we've highlighted. Stephane Bancel on this show has talked about COVID being here with us forever. So interesting to see kind of that shift in optimism, talking about getting able to meet that production to get vaccines out there, but interesting to hear that from him. Anjalee Khemlanmi bringing us the latest. I appreciate that.