Published: Sat, October 17, 2020
Economy | By

CEO says Pfizer can't seek virus vaccine OK before mid-November

CEO says Pfizer can't seek virus vaccine OK before mid-November

Speaking at a World Health Organization social media event, Dr. Swaminathan said that despite the global efforts for developing a COVID-19 vaccine and several candidates undergoing clinical trials, speedy and mass inoculation was highly unlikely.

The company said it hopes to move ahead with the vaccine after safety data is available in the third week of November.

"So let me be clear, assuming positive data, Pfizer will apply for Emergency Use Authorization in the United States soon after the safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November", the company's chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said in an open letter. The vaccines would first need to be approved or authorized for emergency use by U.S. regulators, and Pfizer says it expects to have the safety data it needs in the third week of November to file with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

At the moment, Haydock said there are a handful of developers in final phase 3 studies: AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna, and Novavax.

"Once we have a vaccine, we can aim to have population immunity, herd immunity, because you'll need to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of people, have them protected, to really break the transmission", she said.

Pfizer was considered the most bullish of drugmakers pursuing a vaccine.

A report on Thursday said the National Health Service (NHS) was in talks with the British Medical Association (BMA) which represents doctors, and others around mobilising the rollout of a potential COVID-19 vaccine from December, estimating there was around a 50% chance of a vaccine being available at that time.

Haydock said the absolute earliest approval could be in mid-November and would most likely be Pfizer's vaccine.

That requires a massive amount of spending both by state and local governments and by federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control.

Without further data on how effective the vaccine is and how long immunity from it may last, it's also hard to know what impact any of the shots now in phase III trials will have on controlling the pandemic.

Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University, told TPM in an interview last month that the vaccine would not singlehandedly end the pandemic. If a vaccine were to be approved by the end of the year, that would mark about 9 months since the process began, a sharp contrast to the average 11 years of development for typical vaccines.

Many people are under the misconception that they'll be able to get a vaccine in early 2021, "and then things will be back to normal", Soumya Swaminathan said in a question-and-answer session broadcast on YouTube. The efficacy of any of the vaccine candidates in trials has yet to be determined.

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