The news about COVID-19 vaccines just keeps getting better! Could someone please convince the New York Times!

Pfizer announced this morning that the final analysis of their RNA based Coronavirus vaccine showed it was 95% effective in reducing illness. This was essentially identical to the results announced by Moderna on Monday, which suggests that both vaccines are highly effective in preventing illness. 

The final efficacy data included 170 Covid-19 cases in the 44,000-person trial; 162 cases of COVID-19 were in the placebo group while only 8 were in the vaccine group. This means the vaccine reduced the number of infections by 95%. Pfizer’s first safety results were also impressive; the most severe side effects were fatigue, which occurred in only 3.8% of recipients, and headache, which occurred in 2% of recipients. This is a remarkable safety profile, better than approved vaccines like the one for shingles.

Elderly individuals were included in this analysis, and the vaccine reportedly showed similar efficacy in that group.

Pfizer also reported 9 cases of severe disease in the placebo group, but only 1 in the vaccine group. This indicated the vaccine can help prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Moderna’s analysis had shown 11 severe cases in placebo group and none in the vaccine group. So, both vaccines should prevent against severe illness from COVID-19 and tremendously ease its burden on the health care system.

Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla

Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla also insisted that storage and delivery will not be an issue for the vaccine despite the low temperature requirement.

Pfizer will apply to the FDA for approval immediately and could be reviewed by the agency at either the December 7th or 14th advisory committee meetings. 

Nice that the NYT today finally agrees that the vaccines will “probably work!”

One negative note — several media outlets seem to be continually minimizing the significance of the vaccines. The NYT in particular has paid little attention to the remarkable clinical trial data , instead having a series of articles that have focused entirely on potential manufacturing shortages and problems with distribution. While there may be issues here, it should not be the primary (only!) focus. In one these articles they also went on a rant about President Trump’s suggestion that the vaccines were only “weeks away.” This suggests their concerns aren’t entirely about the vaccine technology.

To me, this is not the time to have political squabbles over these vaccines. As Tony Fauci has said, “this is better news than any of us could have hoped!” These vaccines are the best holiday gifts anyone could receive, and everyone should plan to get vaccinated as soon as they have availability!

Published by jbakerjrblog

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

14 thoughts on “The news about COVID-19 vaccines just keeps getting better! Could someone please convince the New York Times!

  1. NYT has to report not just the test results, good news, but the delivery of it has logistical problems, along with willing public to get vaccine. So do not dwell on the negative too.

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  2. I don’t think they have taken the time to study the science. This is a real breakthrough. Keep up the great work on this blog. Go Ephs!

    Chris

    ______________________________ C. Christopher Alberti 艾博迪 +1 (617) 877-7049 Mobile 美国手机

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  3. Are you concerned that this is a novel, untested approach to a vaccine using mRNA? An mRNA drug to remove amyloid deposition from heart and kidneys was stopped due to an Alzheimer’s like effect, seen in the latter trials.

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    1. The amount of RNA given twice in a vaccine is minuscule compared to the dose in a therapeutic. And compared to whole chimpanzee adenovirus virus, I’ll take RNA any day.
      I was the biggest skeptic, but this may say more about the effective way the immune system handles this virus than any vaccine tech.

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  4. Hi Jim,You have most likely read this paper, but in case not I am sending it.MarkCountry Kennelhttps://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/sensible-compassionate-anti-covid-strategy/

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  5. I agree this is remarkable, hopeful and exciting news. It is also the culmination of decades of science, with fundamental research across a broad range of areas where the scientists likely never imagined how their discoveries would save countless lives. Some day, I hope this scientific story will be told, showing all the strands that had to come together to enable this amazing achievement, and reassuring the tax payer that continued investment in research is truly worthwhile.
    2020 is redeeming itself, after all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dr. Baker. Let’s bring this to a head. Are you saying that we should not being wearing masks because the vaccines in development will cure all? Is a 90+% rate enough that we should all let down our guard at this instant? Please give instantaneous advise, coupled with future advise. Your seem to expect the news agencies to give future advice, complemented by instantaneous advice.

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    1. Absolutely not. It would be even a bigger tragedy to get seriously ill Miguel. What I don’t want is people to get turned off or refuse the vaccine when it is available. If people don’t take the vaccine this will never end.

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