Pfizer has announced a breakthrough, according to initial results, of their large-scale coronavirus vaccine trial. An immune response rate of 90% was observed in participants given two doses three weeks apart, which prevented them from developing symptoms.
According to Reuters, Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE said they had found no serious safety concerns yet and expected to seek US emergency use authorisation this month. However, according to the BBC, this kind of RNA vaccine has never received authorisation for use in human beings before. The concept has been previously researched and used in clinical trials for other diseases.
After consideration by various regulatory bodies around the world, a decision will have to be made as to whether the jab can be approved for widespread usage. 43,500 volunteers participated in this trial and, if approved, the companies estimate they can roll out up to 50 million doses this year, enough to protect 25 million people, and then produce up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.
In the UK, older care home residents and care home staff will be among the first to receive a dose. They will then be followed by health workers such as hospital staff. People will then be ranked by age, with people under 50 at the bottom of the list. According to an article in The Sun, the Prime Minister announced: “Earlier this year, the UK Government ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine – enough for about a third of the population, since you need two doses each.”
The @WhiteHouse Coronavirus Task Force met today to discuss BIG news out of @pfizer this morning. Under President @realDonaldTrump, we are working at Warp Speed to deliver a Safe & Effective vaccine. This President is DELIVERING for the American People. https://t.co/TNzizWj6Ka pic.twitter.com/4CEypaS6wI
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) November 9, 2020
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted soon after, crediting President Trump and congratulating the White House Task Force for their successful “Operation Warp Speed” vaccine development programme. Pfizer announced the public-private partnership and a $1.95 billion distribution deal with the US Government on 22 July 2020.
“Expanding Operation Warp Speed’s diverse portfolio by adding a vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech increases the odds that we will have a safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar at the time.
Initially, several news outlets championed a now-debunked narrative that Pfizer was not part of the U.S. Government’s Warp Speed vaccine operation, based off a statement by Pfizer’s Senior Vice President who also claimed to be apolitical. The Federalist has since published an article outlining the facts.