The European Union has finalized a deal to buy up to 300 million doses of the ground-breaking coronavirus vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer.
American multinational pharmaceutical corporation – Pfizer, and German partner – BioNTech, had in a statement on Monday, November 9, 2020, asserted that their COVID-19 vaccine achieved 90% success in preventing COVID-19, in its first interim analysis from phase 3 study.
Following the breakthrough that has raised hopes of a route out of the pandemic, the company noted that deliveries are to commence by the end of this year.
The EU was coy on the mode for rolling out the vaccine as it insists that “a number of steps” needed to be followed beforehand.
In this instance, the companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use it by the end of November – and a limited number of people may get the vaccine this year.
Early data suggests the vaccine protects more than 90% of people from developing Covid-19 symptoms. The developers, Pfizer and BioNTech, said it had been tested on 43,500 people with no safety concerns raised. The companies said they will submit the vaccine candidate to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization by the third week of this month.
What they are saying
European Health Commissioner, Ms. Stella Kyriakides, described the EU vaccine deal as “extremely important”. She submitted that, “the agreement means we are a step closer to what we set out to do – to have a broad and solid vaccine portfolio,” she said, adding that, “it would only be distributed once it is “proven to be safe.”
Ms Kyriakides did not give detailed information regarding a specific timeline for when the vaccine would be delivered to member states. “It has to receive authorization from the European Medicines Agency. A number of steps need to be followed before we will actually be able to have a timeline.”
She also urged caution, saying: “[The vaccine] will not be a silver bullet that will make the virus disappear overnight.”
Also, on Wednesday, the Head of the EU’s Health Agency, said the first vaccinations in the 27-member bloc could take place early next year.
“I think optimistically [the] first quarter next year, but I can’t be more precise,” Andrea Ammon, the Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, told the AFP news agency.
She added that current infection trends in Europe were “very, very concerning” and all indicators were “going in the wrong direction right now.”
What you should know
Trial results are also due in the next few weeks on a vaccine being developed by the British drug manufacturer, AstraZeneca and scientists at the University of Oxford. A Russian vaccine called Sputnik V has also produced encouraging data.
On Wednesday, Russian scientists announced that the Sputnik V vaccine had so far shown a 92% success rate. That data, however, has not been reviewed by outside analysts.
The 27-member bloc (EU) has also signed supply deals with AstraZeneca, Sanofi, and Johnson & Johnson for their potential COVID-19 shots.
According to Nairametrics COVID-19 tracker report, total confirmed COVID-19 cases stand at 64,516 , while total deaths stand at 1,162.