Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Works!

Wonderful news broke this AM as Pfizer announced its COVID-19 vaccine was over 90% effective in preventing symptomatic infections. It means that immunity to the infection induced by the vaccine is effective in preventing illness after two doses of the vaccine, and given the high degree of efficacy vaccination should be able to end the pandemic.

The two-dose vac­cine was found to be more than 90% ef­fec­tive at seven days af­ter the sec­ond dose, Pfizer said, mean­ing that sub­jects were pro­tected four weeks af­ter their first shot.

This success validates the approach taken by “Operation Warp Speed” and justifies the risks undertaken to produce large numbers of vaccine doses before efficacy data was known. Given the high degree of success for the Pfizer vaccine, it is likely that other vaccines based on similar technology (Moderna) will likely also be successful. In fact, since most of the vaccines have the common approach of producing immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, it is likely that most of the vaccines will work at least to some degree.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla

Several issues still need to be resolved. The full safety profile needs to be defined, and the first major read out from that should be available in a couple of weeks for the Pfizer vaccine. Given the trial was not stopped by the data safety monitoring board when it reviewed the result it is likely to be acceptable.

It will be interesting to note whether the vaccine prevents infection with the virus, which will lead to “herd immunity” that also protects other individuals or just prevents symptomatic illness. Finally, the duration of immune protection will be a question, but Pfizer’s CEO suggested that their earlier trial data indicates that the immunity will persist.

Regardless, this is the best news that could have been expected out of this trial. There is now hope for the world and a direct path out of the pandemic.

Published by jbakerjrblog

Immunologist, former Army MD, former head of allergy and clinical immunology at University of Michigan, vaccine developer and opinionated guy.

6 thoughts on “Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Works!

  1. I wonder if they could have announced this a week ago? Will there be any effort to test if people already have antibodies/immunity? (So that the vaccines can go to the people who would benefit the most from it first? ) And is there a reliable test that detects immunity? I ran across several articles stating the antibody tests were not checking for all the proteins and so the results were unreliable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The statistical end point just arrive on Friday, and was unblinded after that. So it could not have been done last week. I think checking for antibody before vaccination will be important, and many of the newer tests look for antibody to spike protein (as compared to just neuraminidase), so they should be perfect for this task.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Covid19 has been terrible for everyone, and it looks like we just may have crossed the end of the beginning mark. I’ve read probably 85% of your posts and have truly enjoyed them. Thank you. Hope you’ll continue to put out regular “Ponderings,” through the victory over Covid19, and maybe even beyond on the virus threat in general.

    Liked by 1 person

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