Pfizer Inc., which is co-developing a coronavirus vaccine with BioNTech, has launched a pilot delivery program to implement the COVID-19 Immunization Pilot Program. The move would help the drugmaker refine the plan for delivery and deployment of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, when it is authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The four U.S. states include New Mexico, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas. These states were picked due to their size, diversity of population, immunization infrastructure and the reach of people in both rural and urban settings. It should be noted that these states will not receive Pfizer vaccine doses earlier than other states by virtue of this pilot, nor will they receive the differential consideration.
"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.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 Immunization Pilot Program
Pfizer’s pilot delivery program for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine may face several logistics challenges. First and foremost, Pfizer’s vaccine must be shipped and stored at -70 degrees Celsius (minus 94F), which is significantly below the standard for vaccines of 2-8 degrees Celsius (36-46F).
The drugmaker expects to have enough safety data on the coronavirus vaccine from the ongoing large scale late-stage trials by the third week of November before filing for emergency-use authorization (EUA).
Pfizer expects to adapt learnings from the Immunization Pilot Program for usage across other states in order to help them effectively roll out immunization programs for the coronavirus vaccine.
In order to distribute the Pfizer vaccine, the drugmaker has been working alongside U.S. officials in Operation Warp Speed and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The safety data of the COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be available by the next week after which Pfizer and BioNTech plan to seek emergency-use authorization from the US FDA.
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have inked a $1.95 billion deal to supply 100 million doses of the COVID vaccine to the U.S. government. This may go up to an additional 500 million doses as required.
Earlier on Monday, Pfizer’s rival Moderna Inc. said its COVID-19 vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing novel coronavirus.
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use a new technology called synthetic messenger RNA to trigger the immune system in creating antibodies against the virus, and that too without causing the infection.
As of November 17, 7 a.m. ET, global cases have research 54,814,867, according to John Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 1,322, 963.