Local medical experts react to Pfizer vaccine’s 90% effectiveness
MILWAUKEE, WI (CBS 58) – We could be closer to having a coronavirus vaccine. The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said on Monday, Nov. 9, its vaccine is 90% effective at preventing the virus in people not known to have already had it.
The company will submit an emergency use authorization with the FDA once its trail is completed in two weeks.
“It also means we might be able to vaccinate the general public by the end of the first quarter of 2021,” says Dr. John Raymond, president and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Pfizer enrolled nearly 44,000 people for the U.S. and five other countries and reported only 94 infections so far.
“So, they can see if there was a decrease in the number of cases in those who received the vaccine versus the placebo,” says Dr. William Hartman, principal investigator for AstraZeneca vaccine trial. “We’re still waiting for a safety data from that.”
That’s important information for Dr. Hartman as he leads the AstraZeneca vaccine trial in Madison.
“This is just another vaccine candidate for COVID-19,” says Dr. Hartman. “It has a worldwide distribution rate. There are several countries wanting to know if it’s as effective as other vaccines because they want to be able to get it to the population as well.”
Dr. Raymond says there are still some questions that need to be answered about the Pfizer vaccine like how long the effects will last and if it will work in diverse ethnic and racial populations.
Dr. Raymond adds there were few safety concerns raised, but explains what the future of the vaccine could look like.
“It is likely that we’re going to require booster shots every year. Then there’s also the possibility that the vaccine could mutate like the influenza vaccine mutates,” says Dr. Raymond. “It will need to have customized vaccines that we get each year like we generally do for the flu.”
Raymond reminds people to still continue to take all recommended precautions.
“Even though we have this light at the end of the tunnel, we still need to be wearing masks, socially distancing, keeping the circle of people that we interact with small, and avoiding crowds,” says Dr. Raymond.
The AstraZeneca trial is still looking for participants. You can find more information here.
Medical experts say there is plenty of knowledge to gain from these studies in the long run.