Deliveries of Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine could start before ChristmasLast updated on Nov 20, 2020, 01:22 am
The world, battered by coronavirus pandemic, would get relief as early as Christmas, as the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech could be out by then, an official from the German company said.
In the final trial, the vaccine was found to have a success rate of 95%.
The partners are expecting to get emergency authorization from the US and European countries by December.
If all goes well...: BioNTech official depending on quick approvals
BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin is eyeing an authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration by December first-half.
He said conditional approval in the European Union could come by December second-half.
"If all goes well I could imagine that we gain approval in the second half of December and start deliveries before Christmas," he explained.
The vaccine showed similar results across all groups
As per Pfizer, in the trial involving over 43,000 people, 170 contracted the virus. Of them, 162 had only been given a placebo, which implies that the doses are 95% effective.
Moreover, of the 10 people who had severe COVID-19, just one received doses.
The vaccine's efficacy remained the same across all groups — a promising sign considering the disease hits the elderly the hardest.
Moderna's vaccine will be distributed after Pfizer's
Welcoming the recent developments, US Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, said there are now two highly effective vaccines whose distribution would start within weeks.
The second vaccine Azar was referring to is the one being developed by Moderna Inc., which was found to be 95% effective in trials.
It's expected that Pfizer will first receive emergency authorization, followed by Moderna Inc.
50mn doses will be produced this year, 1.3bn in 2021
US-based Pfizer hopes to produce 50 million doses this year, eventually protecting 25 million people from the disease. In 2021, it hopes to churn out 1.3 billion doses.
In both US and Britain, healthcare workers will be prioritized, meaning that it will be long before the general population is immunized.
WHO's Mike Ryan said a significant population will get doses after 4-6 months.
Pfizer's vaccine, though effective, comes with own set of problems
Notably, the distribution of Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine would be cumbersome, as doses have to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius.
In normal refrigeration, the vaccine can be stored for up to five days. In a thermal shipping box, it can be stored for up to 15 days.
Separately, Moderna's doses can be stored at -20 degrees Celsius for up to six months.