ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. - While cases surge across the country, there's some good news. Pfizer says its vaccine is 95% effective, and it could submit for emergency approval soon.
Pfizer will seek emergency use approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the coming days.
"The need is so great and the risk is so small. We haven’t been through the whole thing. It could take us another year to get FDA approval. Well, we don’t have a year. We need to get it out there now," said Seminole County Medical Director Dr. Todd Husty.
Pfizer's vaccine success rate is the highest of any candidate in the late-stage clinical trial so far.
"It uses a particular fragment of the spike protein as a vaccine, which means that pretty much all the antibodies that are generated are going to be neutralizing. So they're going to be antibodies that can actually stop the virus binding onto its receptor," said University of Reading Professor of Virology Ian Jones.
Dr. Husty says the Florida Association of EMS Medical Directors met Wednesday to discuss vaccine distribution. Once the FDA approves the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use, he says seniors, healthcare workers, and first responders will get it first.
As for the rest of the population, "To the average Joe it's probably going to be beginning of 2021, as in prob February, Mar, maybe April," said Dr. Husty.
In Seminole County, he says hospitals, the health department, and fire departments are already equipped with the specialty freezers needed to keep the Pfizer vaccine cold. Now they're working to determine whether fire departments can administer the vaccines.
"The science is clear and seems to be getting more clear. There could be anywhere from 40 to 60 million doses delivered by the end of December. That’s a good start."
Pfizer says it expects the FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee to review the data in a public meeting in December.
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