Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE have announced their vaccine against COVID-19 is more than 90 percent effective. This report, that this vaccine is extremely effective in preventing COVID-19, is great news for meeting professionals as the widespread belief is that testing and a vaccine will be the magic bullet to get groups gathering once again.
Nikole Fridenmaker, CMP, owner, Fridenmaker Consulting applauded this news. “Although I would urge caution as it’s still preliminary, and it’s not a guarantee that final outcomes on the trial will have as high of a success rate. In addition, we will need to be patient to see how quickly it is able to be distributed and how many people are comfortable stepping up and taking it,” says Fridenmaker. “So it is fantastic news, but I’m not sure that the preliminary information will change any meetings just yet. But I guarantee it’s something that we will all be watching closely and hoping for the best. Once there is market and consumer confidence though, I think meetings will be lining with a renewed vigor to travel and be together with others. Virtual or e-conferences are great, and will always have a place, but nothing can replace face-to-face meetings and in-person interaction.”
Pfizer is thrilled with its vaccine. “Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and CEO in a statement. “We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen. With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis. We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data generated from thousands of participants in the coming weeks.”
Pfizer hopes to have 50 million doses of the free vaccine ready by the end of the year. “The first interim analysis of our global Phase 3 study provides evidence that a vaccine may effectively prevent COVID-19. This is a victory for innovation, science and a global collaborative effort,” said Prof. Ugur Sahin, BioNTech co-founder and CEO, in a statement. “When we embarked on this journey 10 months ago this is what we aspired to achieve. Especially today, while we are all in the midst of a second wave and many of us in lockdown, we appreciate even more how important this milestone is on our path towards ending this pandemic and for all of us to regain a sense of normality. We will continue to collect further data as the trial continues to enroll for a final analysis planned when a total of 164 confirmed COVID-19 cases have accrued. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to make this important achievement possible.”
Even more good news was released as the Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency authorization of a COVID-19 antibody treatment made by Eli Lilly that is similar to a therapy given to President Trump shortly after he contracted the coronavirus.
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