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Pfizer CEO sees a return to 'normal' globally by the end of 2022

Key Points
  • Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC he expects life could return to normal for developed countries by the end of this year and the rest of the world by the end of 2022.
  • By the end of next year, there should be enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for most world leaders to successfully inoculate their populations against the virus, he said.

In this article

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla addresses a press conference after a visit to oversee the production of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at the factory of U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer in Puurs, Belgium April 23, 2021.
John Thys | Pool | Reuters

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC on Wednesday he expects life could return to normal for developed countries by the end of this year and the rest of the world by the end of 2022.

By the end of next year, there should be enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for most world leaders to successfully inoculate their populations against the virus, Bourla said during an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin at the CNBC Evolve Global Summit.

"I think the whole world will have enough volumes [of vaccine doses] by the end of 2022 to vaccinate, to protect everyone," he said. "And I think that by the end of this year, the developed world will already be in this situation."

Pfizer and German partner BioNTech reached the milestone of manufacturing 1 billion doses of their Covid vaccine last week, Bourla told CNBC. The two companies expect to produce up to 3 billion doses this year.

The vaccine, one of three authorized for use in the U.S., has played a major role in driving down the number of new infections and hospitalizations across the country. As many states begin to lift their Covid restrictions and return to normal, leaders from other countries are urging the U.S. to donate leftover shots.

Pfizer and BioNTech previously pledged to provide 2 billion doses of the vaccine to low- and middle-income countries.

The drugmakers plan to provide the U.S. government with 500 million doses of the vaccine, enough to inoculate 250 million people since it requires two doses given three weeks apart. As part of the plan, the United States said it will allocate the vaccine doses to 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries.

The U.S. has committed to donating 80 million Covid shots from four drugmakers. It plans to allocate the majority of the vaccines through COVAX, the World Health Organization-backed global vaccine sharing program.

Bourla said Pfizer has contracts with more than 120 countries around the world. The majority of the vaccine doses so far have gone to developed countries, he said, because they placed their orders for the shots in advance.

He said he expects more vaccines to go toward poorer countries in the second half of this year as developed nations finish vaccinating their populations.

The company is also preparing to manufacture booster shots, he said. The CEO has previously told CNBC that people will likely need booster doses within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated and potentially additional doses annually.

He also touted that the company is working on treatments for those who do get infected.

Bourla told CNBC in April that the company's experimental oral drug to treat Covid-19 at the first sign of illness could be available by the end of the year.

Correction: Pfizer and BioNTech expect to produce up to 3 billion doses of their vaccine this year. An earlier version misstated the figure.