The world has heard some encouraging news about the COVID-19 vaccine this week: “It seems to be working and it’s doing pretty well,” Dr. Michael O’Neill, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Monday.
Preliminary analysis suggests the vaccine prevents COVID-19 symptoms by more than 90 percent, and health officials hope to begin vaccinating Americans in a few months. The vaccine is on its way, folks, “said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Probably not, he said, because Pfizer can only produce a limited amount of the vaccine initially – about 1.3 billion doses a year.
That sounds like a lot, but the US, UK, EU, Canada and Japan have already looked at it under expanded sales contracts, Silverman said. Much of that supply is already covered by the US government’s $1.3 billion annual supply contract with Pfizer.
Even if Pfizer could produce more doses, its vaccine is unlikely to work in many parts of the world, so there is not much left. Silverman said the vaccine will be available until at least the end of next year, but according to the CDC unlikely, if not sooner.
Ultimately, it will need to be stored, transported and maintained at exceptionally low temperatures, Silverman said. That is much less than a typical freezer that runs at about 0 degrees Fahrenheit, but it is more than enough to store and maintain.
The Pfizer vaccine requires a special freezer, which most hospitals and clinics in the US do not currently have. It is very difficult to administer the vaccine in a normal doctor’s office, Silverman said, and therefore it is unlikely to be a good option for many people in poor countries with limited access to health care. Nonetheless, Pfizer’s announcement offers some good news for developing countries.
Many other vaccines are currently being developed, such as the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. COVs target a specific group of people with a specific type of vaccine – resistant strains of the disease.
The efficacy of Pfizer’s vaccine thus depends on whether other vaccines will be effective and whether they have been effective. Silverman said the vaccine is hopefully “easy to store and transport” and that it is safe.
On Tuesday, Health Secretary Alex Azar said that if Pfizer Inc. reports to health regulators as soon as expected, the U.S. government plans to begin vaccinating Americans in December, he said. Pfiser said Monday that the vaccine, which he developed with his German partner BioNTech SE, is 90 percent effective against COVID-19 based on data from his own clinical trials.
Azar said Tuesday on CNBC that a final decision depends on a closer examination of data on the vaccine’s effectiveness. The US pharmaceutical company said it had safety data available by the end of this month to apply for approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. Once the FDA approves the vaccine, the United States would receive about $1.5 billion in federal funding for the COVID-19 vaccine, he said, noting that HHS could procure the first batch of vaccine doses for use in children under 5 later this month. With an option of $500 million, it has the potential to vaccinate 50 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Based on the government’s recommendations, it is planned to start vaccinating the elderly in life support facilities, with the aim of completing vaccinations by the end of January.
Availability for Every American
We expect it to be enough for every American who wants to get vaccinated in late March or early April, “Azar told CBNC. The European Union has agreed to buy the coronavirus vaccine from BioNTech and Pfizer, which has shown strong results in trials. Azar said he expects a number of other vaccines for the elderly to be available in the U.S. soon, including one from the U.S. Moderna Inc. (MRNA), which will be announced later this month. In an interview with MSNBC, Dr. Michael O’Brien, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who is leading the development of a new vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), said he expects the vaccine doses to be available to certain high-priority groups by December.
Deliveries are expected to begin later this year, the company said, and the vaccine will be available in the U.S. by the end of the year or early 2018.
Early data suggest the vaccine protects more than 90% of people from Covid’s 19 symptoms. However, the EU refuses to give details of how it will be introduced and insists that a number of steps need to be taken.
A limited number of people could get the vaccine this year, but the company plans to apply for emergency approval for use by the end of November. On Monday, the developer, Pfizer BioNTech, said it had tested a new version of its vaccine, raising safety concerns in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides described the EU vaccination agreement as “extremely important.” The agreement “means that we are able to have a broad and robust vaccine portfolio,” she said, adding that it would be distributed “as soon as it is proven safe,” adding: “It must be approved by the European Medicines Agency.” She declined to give details about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, or its price.
The head of the European health authority also said on Wednesday that the first vaccinations would take place “optimistically” in the second quarter of next year, and more were expected “optimistically” in the first quarter of next year. But she urged caution, saying the vaccine was not a “silver bullet” that would make the virus disappear overnight. To actually have a timetable, we have to take some steps and I can’t be more precise, “she told AFP news agency.
She added that the current trend of infection in Europe is “very, very worrying” and that “all indicators are currently going in the wrong direction.” Spain and Italy recorded the highest number of deaths this week, the Italian Health Ministry said on Wednesday. The number of cases reported in both countries since the beginning of the pandemic has also passed one million.
The introduction of the vaccine by BioNTech and Pfizer would likely benefit countries that are coping with the worst outbreak of the disease since the West African outbreak in 2009 early next year. The BBC’s Mark Lowen in Rome reports that pressure is mounting on authorities to demand tougher closures, but so far the government has resisted the demand. The country’s largest hospital, with an intensive care unit nearing capacity, houses more than 1,000 patients, many of them elderly and sick.
Russian – Sputnik V vaccine
The Russian Sputnik V vaccine has also provided some encouraging data, and pharmaceutical companies are among the first to report their findings to the World Health Organization (WHO). Further information on the vaccine being developed by BioNTech and Pfizer and other vaccine manufacturers is expected in the coming weeks.
Russian scientists said Wednesday that the Sputnik V vaccine has so far had a 92 percent success rate. However, this data has not been verified by outside analysts and the vaccine’s efficacy has yet to be tested in humans.