Pfizer says coronavirus vaccine is more than 90% effective in trial stage

Nov 9 2020, 6:37 am

A COVID-19 vaccine that is being developed by American pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer, says its latest data suggests shots may be 90% effective at preventing the virus.

Pfizer Inc. says the study enrolled 43,538 volunteers, 42% of whom had diverse health backgrounds from the US and five other countries. The company says “no serious safety concerns” had been observed among the participants.

The positive preliminary data means the US company and its German partner, BioNTech, are on track to be the first to release the vaccine. In a press release on Monday morning, 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.

“Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and CEO. “We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen.”

On Friday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer said that when a coronavirus vaccine is approved, there will be a limited supply at first.

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 will 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.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said obtaining vaccines for Canadians is a top priority for his government.

Decisions on which vaccines to pursue, which populations get first access, and how they are distributed across the country will be based on the recommendations of experts, Trudeau said, adding that the provinces will also be part of the conversation.

Pfizer and BioNTech are now working to prepare the necessary safety and manufacturing data to submit to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)  to demonstrate the safety and long-term quality of the vaccine product.

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