Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Appears 90% Effective In Interim Trial Results, Company Announces; Approval, Accessibility Questions Remain

AP: Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine is looking 90% effective
“Pfizer Inc. said Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine may be a remarkable 90% effective, based on early and incomplete test results that nevertheless brought a big burst of optimism to a world desperate for the means to finally bring the catastrophic outbreak under control. … Pfizer, which is developing the vaccine with its German partner BioNTech, now is on track to apply later this month for emergency-use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, once it has the necessary safety information in hand…” (Neergaard/Johnson, 11/10).

Devex: Accessibility concerns about promising Pfizer, BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
“Experts are encouraged with the interim efficacy results of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine against the coronavirus, but that optimism was tempered with concerns over the vaccine’s affordability and accessibility. The companies also have yet to sign a deal with COVAX, the global initiative whose aim is to provide equal access to COVID-19 vaccines to low- and middle-income countries…” (Ravelo, 11/10).

STAT: Four reasons for encouragement based on Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine results
“…While these are early findings — the trial is still ongoing — they suggest the vaccine could be very protective. There’s another important caveat. We don’t yet have details about whether the vaccine blocked mainly mild cases, or if there is evidence that it seemed to prevent some severe infections, too. Still, the early results are encouraging for the Pfizer-BioNTech partnership. But embedded in the announcement is broader good news for Covid-19 vaccine development. Here are four reasons for encouragement based on the early results, starting with the most important…” (Branswell, 11/9).

Washington Post: Pfizer coronavirus vaccine could be cleared by mid-December following release of data showing it is more than 90 percent effective
“The news Monday that Pfizer’s experimental coronavirus vaccine is more than 90 percent effective sharply increased prospects that federal regulators will authorize the vaccine on an emergency basis as early as mid-December, and that the first shots will be administered before the end of the year or early next year. … Even with the welcome development, experts warned that the longed-for return to normalcy will take many months or more, and that the path is certain to contain unexpected twists and turns. Even after a vaccine is approved, they said, people will need to wear masks and social distance for some time — in part because the vaccine doses will be limited, and it will take time to immunize enough of the population to stop the virus from spreading…” (McGinley et al., 11/9).

Additional coverage of the vaccine trial results and implications is available from Al Jazeera, CNBC (2), The Economist, Financial Times, NBC News, New York Times (2), NPR, POLITICO, Quartz, Reuters, Science, Science Speaks, Scientific American, STAT, Vox, and Washington Post.

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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