News and Commentary

Pfizer Says Latest Vaccine Data Show 95% Effectiveness—Better Than Original Announcement
An illustration picture shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached, with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Pfizer, on November 17, 2020.
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

The pharmaceutical company Pfizer said Wednesday that the latest data from its coronavirus vaccine stage three trials shows it to be 95% effective, which would mean the vaccine is even better than the original announcement from earlier this month.

According to Pfizer, the primary efficacy analysis from the vaccine trials shows that the vaccine is around 95% effective against COVID-19 beginning one month after the first dose (the vaccine requires two doses, spaced three weeks apart). When the interim efficacy analysis data results were announced on November 9, the pharmaceutical company indicated that the vaccine was roughly 90% effective at preventing COVID-19.

“The study results mark an important step in this historic eight-month journey to bring forward a vaccine capable of helping to end this devastating pandemic,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, the CEO and chairman of Pfizer. “We continue to move at the speed of science to compile all the data collected thus far and share with regulators around the world.”

The company plans to seek FDA emergency authorization “within days,” reports The New York Times. Earlier this week, Dr. Bourla revealed that should the vaccine be approved, Pfizer is prepared to start immediately shipping the vaccines in isothermic boxes all across the United States.

“Those boxes are isothermic boxes that have a GPS and also a tempo meter so we know at any point where the box is and what is the temperature so if something goes wrong, which we don’t anticipate, we will not use the vaccine. Every box is a small box like that and can take 1,000 to 5,000 doses. And when we ship it, we don’t need to use refrigeration. So we can ship it in cars, trucks, planes, boats, whatever. In the US, we will ship to most of the places overnight,” said Dr. Bourla.

“Once we receive an address from the government, the next day the product will be there,” he added. “And once people receive it they can keep it for weeks in the box or they can keep it for months in their freezers or they can put it in refrigeration and keep it for a week, approximately. I think that the demand will be so big, it’s going to be injected in hours rather than days or weeks. So we feel very confident about it.”

According to Pfizer, the vaccine was shown to be effective within all trial participants regardless of age efficacy for people over the age of 65 was 94% race, and sex.

The Phase 3 clinical trial of BNT162b2 began on July 27 and has enrolled 43,661 participants to date, 41,135 of whom have received a second dose of the vaccine candidate as of November 13, 2020. Approximately 42% of global participants and 30% of U.S. participants have racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, and 41% of global and 45% of U.S. participants are 56-85 years of age.

Moderna, a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company, said earlier this week that its vaccine candidate has shown to be 94.5% effective against the coronavirus in stage three trials. Like the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine is based on mRNA technology.

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