Medical experts, local trial participant talk about what Pfizer's vaccine could mean for you

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is reporting that early analysis is showing its COVID-19 vaccine, that’s currently in the late stages of its Phase 3 clinical trial, has been more than 90% effective. 

“Encouraging. I love it.  A 90% efficacy rate is the number of people it worked for is very, very high,” Seminole County Health Director Dr. Todd Husty said.  

Pfizer also announced that it expect to be applying for emergency FDA approval by month’s end.  

Dr. Kartic Cherabuddi is an epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist at the University Florida. He’s encouraged by Pfizer’s news too.  

“We’re getting close to a final analysis there. That’s great news,” Dr. Cherabuddi said. 

Both doctors believe healthcare providers, first responders then the elderly and most vulnerable will be the first to get the COVID-19 vaccine, saying that could start before the end of this year.  

As for the rest of us, “For people not in any of the risk categories, it’s good news. It's just it’s going to be a while. It’s going to be a while before we can take our foot of the accelerator and (not) do the mask and social distancing,” Dr. Husty said.  

Dr. Cherabuddi estimated more of a timeline.  

“Hearing from the companies, they are producing them in bulk. They’re promising early next year. Even if you have to take that with a grain of salt. It will be before May. By June, everyone should have access to a vaccine in this country,” Dr. Cherabuddi said.

At least 10 companies are in the race to get their COVID-19 vaccine first to the market. While the process for this vaccine will be going from inception to market at warp speed, Dr. Cherabuddi says in this case, that’s OK.  

“Nowhere else has humanity worked toward a single purpose this way. I think we’ve put every resource toward it. The medical community has realized we have to have a lot of trust in the first products that come out, so there’s a lot of scrutiny by independent folks to make sure this is OK before we say it’s fine,” Dr. Cherabuddi said.

Erin Lawrence is participating in the Pfizer vaccine trial. She participated in clinical trials before. As a paraprofessional who works closely with special needs kids, who she says aren’t always good about wearing masks, says she sees the need for getting a vaccine out to the public soon. That’s why she decided to help in the process by enrolling and rolling up her sleeve.

“It’s a small injection. A small needle. Smaller than the flu shot,” Lawrence said.  

As for side effects, “I’ve had none at all. No site redness. No pain, no nothing. Some people reported upset stomach. I’ve had nothing,” Lawrence said.   

Lawrence says at this point she doesn’t know if she was given Pfizer’s vaccine or a placebo. What she does know, she’s been able to stay COVID-19-free so far.

Both Dr. Husty and Dr. Cherabuddi tell FOX 35 News that from what they’re seeing and reading about Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine, they’ll be getting in line to get the shot.