For protection against the delta variant, new data from Pfizer suggests three doses are the way to go. In slides published ahead of a Wednesday earnings call, the company said that antibody levels against the delta variant were five times higher in the 18-to-55 age group after a third dose, and 11 times higher in those ages 65 to 85. CNN notes the data hasn't been peer-reviewed or published. The Hill reports Pfizer "made waves" a couple of weeks ago in announcing it would be seeking FDA authorization for a third dose, and on the earnings call, Dr. Mikael Dolsten said Pfizer intended to apply for emergency use authorization as soon as August. CNN explains that the current emergency use authorization needs to be amended in order for the third dose to be administered.
"We continue to believe it is likely that a third-dose booster may be needed within six to 12 months after full vaccination ... and studies are underway to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of a third dose," Dolsten said. At the current two-dose level, the vaccine is turning out to be hugely profitable for the company. CNBC reports Pfizer on Wednesday said Q2 sales of the vaccine hit $7.8 billion; the company pushed its expectations for the year from $26 billion to $33.5 billion. In unrelated vaccine news, the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is attracting attention for the wild speed at which it fully vaccinated its people. In just seven days, 90% of eligible adults—its total population is closing in on 800,000—received their second dose. The AP reports UNICEF called it "arguably the fastest vaccination campaign to be executed during a pandemic." (Read more Pfizer stories.)