First jabs in ‘days’ as Pfizer vaccine passes safety checks

Trial US volunteer receives jab

First jabs in ‘days’ as Pfizer vaccine passes safety checks by Jane Kirby Published

The new figures from 170 participants in their phase III clinical trial show the jab was 95 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19, with a 94 per cent effectiveness in those aged 65 and over.

This result also follows a preliminary data report from Moderna about their own Phase 3 trial of their vaccine candidate, which they reported showed 94.5% effectiveness.

"We now have two safe and highly effective vaccines that could be authorised by the Food and Drug Administration and ready to distribute within weeks", Azar said during his briefing on the government's Operation Warp Speed program for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

Of this, Ontario will get 1.6 million of the Pfizer vaccine and 800,000 of the Moderna vaccine.

A good immune response was "consistent across age, gender, race and ethnicity demographics", Pfizer said.

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"We're cautiously optimistic that, you know, by January, that we would have that review complete", said Dr. Supriya Sharma, who is the chief medical adviser of the federal Health Department, which is responsible for the approval of vaccines. It also has deals with three other companies that are developing COVID-19 vaccines. "Today is a special day".

Dr Charlie Weller, head of vaccines at the Wellcome Trust, said: "This reported additional data is another bright moment in what has been a dark year".

BioNTech's Sahin said U.S. emergency use authorization (EUA) would be applied for on Friday. Pfizer's vaccine can be stored in conventional freezers for up to five days, or in the special coolers for up to 15 days, as long the dry ice is replenished and the boxes are not opened more than twice a day.

That suggested that the vaccine is 95 percent effective beginning 28 days after the first of two doses.

Federal health officials have said the first doses of the vaccines will most likely go to groups like health care workers who are at high risk for exposure, as well as to people who are most vulnerable to the disease, such as older people.

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Distribution of a Pfizer-BioNTech shot is complicated by the need to store it at ultra-cold temperatures of -70 degrees Celsius.

Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization's top emergency expert, said it would be at least 4-6 months before significant levels of vaccination were taking place around the world.

Moderna says its vaccine can be kept at temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius for 30 days.

Pfizer said vaccine was well-tolerated and that side effects were mostly mild to moderate, and cleared up quickly. The most common serious adverse event was fatigue, with 3.7% of volunteers reporting tiredness after they took the second dose.

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