PFE’s Big Vaccine Reveal
The 90+% effectiveness rate demonstrated via 94 clinical trial participants infected with the virus exceeds expectations and FDA’s minimum 50% effectiveness threshold. PFE intends to apply for FDA emergency authorization later this month. The announcement timing, a mere two days after the presidential election was called for VP Biden, is questionable. However, keep in mind that PFE has not accepted Operation Warp Speed funding or other government assistance so has been uniquely positioned to claim political independence. It remains to be seen whether this factor and the product’s very favorable effectiveness and safety profile can help sway a public that’s grown increasingly skeptical of the vaccine effort. With a late November EUA submission, we’d expect FDA authorization toward the end of the year or early 2021, where initial rounds will likely be provided to limited populations like front line medical personnel and nursing home residents. With a two-week course of two shots and upwards of three to four weeks for an immune response to sufficiently develop, it could be well into February before the vaccine offers any protection. PFE has said it expects the vaccine, assuming all goes well, to be available to the general population in April.
Biden Launches Covid Taskforce
Cochairs will be former FDA commissioner Kessler; Obama Surgeon General Murthy; and Yale’s Nunez-Smith, an expert on health disparities. The task force is meant to show Biden’s commitment to addressing the pandemic and give the appearance of a more coordinated, top down federal approach.