American pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer says the final analysis from its clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine confirms it to be 95% effective, has no serious side effects, and can protect the elderly.
The company’s announcement comes a week after it initially revealed promising preliminary results after its Phase 3 trials.
Pfizer is now preparing to formally ask US regulators to allow for the vaccine’s emergency use and distribution.
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According to a Wednesday morning press release, Pfizer says there had been 170 cases of COVID-19 in its trial, 162 of which were in the “placebo group” and eight who were in the vaccine group.
“Efficacy was consistent across age, gender, race and ethnicity demographics,” says the press release. “The observed efficacy in adults over 65 years of age was over 94%.”
The positive final stage results mean the US company and its German partner, BioNTech, are on track to be the first to release the vaccine. Pfizer says they estimate the ability to produce 1.3 billion doses — enough to vaccinate 650 million people — by the end of 2021.
Roughly 50 million doses are expected to be available before the end of 2020.
“The study results mark an important step in this historic eight-month journey to bring forward a vaccine capable of helping to end this devastating pandemic. We continue to move at the speed of science to compile all the data collected thus far and share with regulators around the world,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and CEO. “With hundreds of thousands of people around the globe infected every day, we urgently need to get a safe and effective vaccine to the world.”
— Pfizer Inc. (@pfizer) November 18, 2020
Earlier this month, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer said that there would be a limited supply at first when a coronavirus vaccine is approved.
Dr. Theresa Tam said that she is “cautiously optimistic” that a safe and effective vaccine for the coronavirus will be available in the first quarter of 2021 and said initial supplies of the vaccine would be in short order.
Tam stressed that clinical trials still need to continue and that Health Canada needs to approve any vaccines that are deemed safe and effective. Once vaccines are approved, the government will receive additional advice on prioritization from the NACI (National Advisory Committee on Immunization) based on the characteristics of each vaccine.