Moderna CEO: COVID-19 Vaccines Unlikely To Be Effective Against Omicron

Story Highlights
  • Drugmaker Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA)'s CEO set off fresh alarm bells in financial markets.
  • COVID-19 vaccines unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant.
  • Uncertainty about the new variant triggered global alarm with border closures.

Hong Kong: On Tuesday, the CEO of drugmaker Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) raised new concerns in financial markets by stating that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variation as they have been against the Delta variant. As Stéphane Bancel’s statements sparked fears that vaccination resistance could lead to increased sickness and hospitalizations, prolonging the outbreak, crude oil futures lost more than a dollar, the Australian dollar fell to a year low, and the Nikkei index lost ground.

Bancel had previously stated that more information on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccinations against Omicron should be available in two weeks, and that developing a vaccine that works against the new version could take months. The WHO and scientists also stated that determining the severity of the variation and its propensity to evade vaccine-induced immunity could take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Border closures have cast a shadow over a nascent economic recovery after a two-year pandemic, while uncertainty over the new variety has sparked global concern. President Joe Biden’s assurances that the US will not reintroduce lockdowns had also helped calm markets before the Moderna CEO’s comments frightened investors.

Biden has advocated for a broader vaccination campaign, while the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that everyone over the age of 18 get a booster dose. In response to Omicron worries, the United Kingdom has increased its COVID-19 booster programme.

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