Following the recent announcement of its 90% efficiency in combatting the novel coronavirus, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has begun a pilot delivery program for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in four U.S. states, in order to mete out and possibly find solutions for distribution challenges, if they arise.
One of the most evident reasons that Pfizer will have to run a trial delivery program, is to address distribution challenges facing its ultra-cold storage requirements. Considering that the vaccine will have to be addressed to a massive volume of recipients, the distribution of the vaccine needs to be done with the same efficacy as the innovation of the vaccine in itself.
Pfizer expects to have enough safety data on its experimental vaccine from the late-stage trials by the third week of November before proceeding to apply for emergency use authorization. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have a $1.95B deal to supply 100M doses of the vaccine to the US government, which has an option to acquire up to an additional 500M doses.
According to a statement by the company, Rhode Island, Texas, New Mexico, and Tennessee are the four states that have been picked for the pilot program, mainly due to their differences in overall size, diversity of populations, immunization infrastructure, and need to reach individuals in varied urban and rural settings.
“We are hopeful that results from this vaccine delivery pilot will serve as the model for other U.S. states and international governments, as they prepare to implement effective COVID-19 vaccine programs,” Pfizer said in a statement on Monday. The pharma giant also added that the four states will not receive doses earlier than anywhere else in the US by virtue of the pilot, nor will they receive different consideration.
Meanwhile, Moderna, with its similar M-RNA or messenger RNA vaccine contender has also, on Monday deemed its vaccine candidate to be 94.5% effective, and will also seek emergency authorization from the concerned authorities in the US.
With all factors, including distribution kept in mind, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said that the potential cure, along with several others reaching their final stages, could return the world to “normal” by next winter. “I’m confident that this will happen, because a number of vaccine companies have been asked to increase the supply, and so that we could have a normal winter next year,” Sahin said.