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The White House on Tuesday responded to concerns voiced by a Moderna executive, who suggested that the current vaccines slotted to fight the coronavirus would not be sufficient to counter the new Omicron variant.

“It could go in two different directions,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in reference to Omicron’s lethality. “It could be less lethal, it could be more. We don’t know yet.


“We’re not jumping to conclusions because we want to be clear with the American public about what we do and don’t know,” she said.

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Saki’s remarks came just hours after Moderna CEO Stefan Bansel predicted that current vaccines – effective at fighting beta and delta variants of the coronavirus – may not be effective at combating Omicron.

in an interview with financial TimesBansal said he did not envision a “world” in which the vaccine had the same effectiveness in fighting the latest version as it was in dealing with the delta strain.

The head of Moderna claims to have spoken with other scientists who have said it is “not going to be good.”

“I think it’s going to be a physical fall,” he said. “I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data.”

  Modern COVID-19 Vaccine

Drugmakers are still testing the vaccine’s effects on the most recent version and President Biden has said that Omicron is “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.”

Oxford University on OMICRON: No evidence COVID-19 vaccines won’t protect against serious illness

Saki echoed the president’s tone, saying the best way to pull off the latest version is still to get vaccinated.

“Here’s what we do know: getting vaccinated, being boosted, means you raise antibodies and you’ll have extra protection,” he told Air Force One reporters on Tuesday.

“If a change is needed, a tweaking of the vaccine, bringing it to market – we would be ready to do exactly that, but we are not at that point yet,” she continued. “We don’t know yet and we’re going to wait for the results and analysis by health and medical experts.”

Bansel warned that it could take several months for pharma companies to establish a vaccine effective enough to tackle the Omicron variant.

While the Omicron version is expected to bring a resurgence in cases, Pfizer board member Scott Gottlieb and former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration told CBS News this week that there is “a good degree of confidence” that there is a coronavirus vaccine with three individuals. The supplements will be protected against the latest version.

“The most important thing we can do is get more people vaccinated,” Saki said Tuesday. “We will continue to encourage other countries to step up and do more to provide vaccine doses to the global community.”