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The Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine is 95% Effective & Will Be Submitted for Authorization
The race has been on for a vaccine since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic about 8 months ago. The total number of cases in the UK thus far has come to 1.5 million since the pandemic began, accord to GOV.UK. The numbers continue to climb as we head toward winter.
Ray of Hope
One ray of hope in the midst of the pandemic has been the race to develop a vaccine against the viral infection. The first vaccine out of the gate is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been proven 95% effective in preventing Covid-19. The vaccine has met all safety criteria needed for emergency authorization.
On the final analysis of the trials, about 95% of those vaccinated were protected from the virus within 28 days of the first dose, which was up from when the Phase 3 results were announced last week. The vaccine also showed 94% efficacy among adults who were over 65.
In addition, no serious side effects were noted; about 2% of the 43,000 participants reported having a headache after the injection, while 3.7% reported fatigue.
Both Pfizer and BioNTech have plans to submit the vaccine to the US regulator for emergency approval very soon after no serious safety issues were reported from the vaccine trials.
In the UK, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is also about ready to fast-track authorization of the vaccine. The government has ordered the vaccine to treat about 20 million people.
According to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, once the vaccine has been authorized, the NHS will be ready to provide the vaccine to those who are most vulnerable. This should start around December 1st.
Additional Vaccines in Process
Pfizer was the first company in the world to complete their Phase 3 studies of the coronavirus vaccine on November 9th. At that time, the effective rate was about 90%.
This week, Moderna, a U.S. pharmaceutical company, made the announcement that their vaccine had a promising efficacy rate of 94.5%.
UK Orders Vaccine Doses
The U.K. has so far ordered 5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, which is enough to treat 2.5 million people. They’ve also ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which will treat up to 20 million people.
Both the U.S. and German companies say they’ll be able to produce 50 million does this year, and 1.3 billion does in 2021.
Professor, Stephen Powis, medical director for NHS England, today said that the health service is “working hard” to ensure it has the means to deliver the vaccines.
He went on to say the vaccine would be delivered through traditional routes including GPs, pharmacies, and also vaccine centers.
“We are planning for different types of vaccine and the plans around the delivery mechanism, with this contingent upon the particular vaccine and the data that comes from the trials and the advice from regulators,” he said.
“We will be saying more about this in the next few days but meanwhile we are working hard, we are ensuring we have a workforce to do this, I have talked about general practice who are stepping up for this, but St. John’s are also recruiting volunteers, so we have additional vaccine workforce.”
St. John’s Ambulance has been approached to train thousands of volunteers to administer the vaccines. Pfizer’s vaccine has to be kept at sub-zero temperatures.
Amazing Science – Development of Vaccine Has Been Fast
The development of vaccines in such a short amount of time, when it usually takes years to develop a vaccine, has been amazing. Reacting to the findings, Professor Trudie Lang of Oxford University said, “This is a remarkable and very reassuring situation that we find ourselves in.
“To go from identifying a new virus to having several vaccines at the point of applying for regulatory approval is an incredible milestone for science.”
But others have another view. Professor Stephen Evans of the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine was concerned that relying solely on the press is not enough, and he would like to see more safety data on the vaccines.
King’s College London professor Dr. Penny Ward also was concerned bout the lack of detail on whether or not there were any serious hospitalizations or deaths caused by the administration of the vaccine.
Pfizer chairman and chief executive Dr. Albert Bourla said “The study results mark an important step in this historic eight-month journey to bring forward a vaccine capable of helping to end this devasting 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.”
Along with Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, there are 12 more in the process around the world and in the final phases of testing, including one vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.