On Monday November 9, Pfizer Inc. announced their COVID-19 vaccine had been showing a 90% effectivity rate according to early testing. On Monday November 16, Moderna announced their vaccine had been showing a 94.5% effectivity rate. The news comes amidst a massive surge of coronavirus cases across Europe and the United States.
Pfizer is working with the German company BioNTech to develop the vaccine. The vaccine by Pfizer began trials in May and is currently in phase 3 trials, but recent test results show the most promising of any of the vaccines.
According to the New York Times, Pfizer is expected to apply for an Emergency Use Authorization within the next few weeks.
In July, the Trump administration agreed to a $1.9 billion contract with Pfizer and BioNTech for 100 million doses of the vaccine by December. The contract also allows for the option for the United States to receive 500 million additional doses of the vaccine.
In a statement to The Associated Press, Pfizer’s senior vice president of clinical, Dr. Bill Gruber, said, “We’re in a position potentially to be able to offer some hope…we’re very encouraged.”
Moderna is a part of the Trump Administration’s “Operation Warp Speed,” which aimed to speed up research and production of a coronavirus vaccine.
Moderna received $1 billion of aid for designing and testing the COVID-19 vaccine from the U.S. government. The Trump administration also awarded Moderna a $1.5 billion contract for 100 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine.
According to the Associated Press, the vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer both require two shots, given a few weeks apart.
In reaction to the positive vaccine results, President Trump promised vaccine availability to the general public as early as April. Trump also acknowledged that the vaccine would have a delayed rollout in certain regions, like New York.
“As soon as April, the vaccine will be available to the entire general population, with the exceptions of places like New York state where, for political reasons, the governor decided to say, and I don't think it's good politically, I think it's very bad from a health point, but he wants to take his time on the vaccine,” said Trump. “We won't be delivering it to New York until we have authorization to do so, and that pains me to say that.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York has stated the vaccine would have to be cleared and authorized by the State of New York before it can be distributed there.
The announcement of the Pfizer’s vaccine results came only a few days after former Vice-President Joe Biden was projected by several news organizations as President-Elect.
Biden offered cautious optimism amidst the vaccine news and warned of the time it will take to distribute the vaccine.
“It will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country,” said Biden. "Americans will have to rely on masking, distancing, contact tracing, hand washing, and other measures to keep themselves safe well into next year…today’s news is great news, but it doesn’t change that fact.”
According to The Associated Press, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious-disease expert in the United States government, has previously said he would be happy with a COVID-19 vaccine which was 60% effective.