Pfizer vaccine, when will it be available to the public?
Pfizer has sought approval for its new COVID-19 vaccine, which has shown a 90% success rate in the trials. Pfizer and BioNTech have said they have not found any serious safety concerns and have applied for US Emergency use authorization.
If they are granted approval they can roll out as much as 50 million doses this year and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021. But the question in everyone’s mind is when can they get this vaccine and is it completely safe.
The availability of the vaccine depends on where you live and how likely are you to get infected by the virus. The companies have signed advance purchase agreements for 100 million doses with the US and double that with the European Union, with options for more. Supply will fall far short at the beginning.
We will need to find a way to distribute that in a fair fashion.
BioNTech Chief Executive Officer Ugur Sahin
Pfizer, BioNTech’s vaccine supply deals:
European Union, 200 million doses (option: 100 million)
Japan 120 million doses
US, 100 million doses (option: 500 million)
UK 30 million doses
The vaccine requires extreme freezing for long-term storage, which could complicate distribution, although it can stay at refrigerator temperatures for at least five days.
So looking at the current scenario the demand is going to exceed the supply at a far greater number, and it might take a real effort to make this vaccine accessible to every country.
Now Pfizer has said that they hope that their experimental vaccine could be effective for at least a year against the coronavirus. But this is something that can’t be answered just now, also the participants in the initial trial period will be monitored for two years.
Even if a vaccine is authorized within months, it will initially only be available to a sliver of the American public. Most health officials think an effective vaccine won’t be available to anyone who wants it until well into next year. Even then, there is still no data about whether a vaccine will stop asymptomatic spread of the virus, or the extent to which it will prevent people from developing severe Covid-19.
Most experts say even when a vaccine is widely available, additional measures like masks will still be necessary until the public health threat has subsided.