Pfizer has announced that it will apply for emergency authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine. The pharmaceutical company backed their request with data showing the vaccine's 95% success rate during trials.
After submitting their request, the Food and Drug Administration will review the vaccine. From there, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their counterparts in Europe will review the vaccine. If the request passes through both organizations, Pfizer will begin to distribute 50 million doses of the vaccine globally. Within the United States, Pfizer is expected to distribute nearly 20 million doses before the end of the year. Americans who work in high-risk professions like doctors and nurses will receive the vaccine first. Medical professionals project that the vaccine could reach the general population midway through 2021.
Pfizer's emergency authorization request comes after a few rounds of successful trials. After recruiting 43,000 participants, only 170 contracted the virus. Of the 170 who contracted the virus, 162 were a part of the placebo group. Only eight participants who received the vaccine ultimately contracted the virus.
“Our work to deliver a safe and effective vaccine has never been more urgent, as we continue to see an alarming rise in the number of cases of COVID-19 globally," Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said.
"Filing in the U.S. represents a critical milestone in our journey to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine to the world and we now have a more complete picture of both the efficacy and safety profile of our vaccine, giving us confidence in its potential."
The vaccine arrives as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on. On November 17 and November 18, more than 1,700 Americans died from COVID-19. That is the equivalent to one American dying from COVID-19 every minute of the day. Researchers project that nearly 400,000 Americans could die from the virus by March. If successful, Pfizer's vaccine could help save tens of thousands of lives in and outside of the United States.
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