General In Charge Of Operation Warp Speed Gives Timeline On How Fast Covid Vaccine Will Be Distributed



Drugmaker Pfizer released some incredible news to start the week. To kick off Monday morning, Pfizer announced their COVID-19 vaccine has an efficacy rate of above 90% following completing of their Stage-3 Human Trials, a trial which included 43,538 participants.

Their coronavirus vaccine requires two doses and protection ‘is achieved’ 28 days after the first dose is given:

The analysis evaluated 94 confirmed COVID-19 infections among the trial’s 43,538 participants. Pfizer and BioNTech said the case split between vaccinated individuals and those who received a placebo indicated a vaccine efficacy rate of above 90% at seven days after the second dose.

It means that protection from COVID-19 is achieved 28 days after the initial vaccination, which consists of a two-dose schedule. (via NBC)

Four-Star Army General Gus Perna is in charge of Operation Warp Speed, the government’s initiative to accelerate a COVID-19 vaccine. He was a guest on CBS News’ 60 Minutes where he was asked about how quickly a vaccine would be available once it received emergency approval. His answer? It would start distributing within 24 hours.

“Within 24 hours,” Perna said.

The veteran Army supply officer put in charge of the distribution effort by President Trump said everything would start rolling once he issues an “execute” order.

He also said the government has doses of a vaccine stockpiled but wouldn’t go into more detail.

“I’m holding on to that number right now because I want to not create anxiety and we need to work through the details. A month from now, I’ll have more,” he said. (via NYPost)

While the General isn’t will to share his numbers, drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech have shared their expectations on how many doses they’ll be able to produce this year and next and the numbers are extremely encouraging. They also believe they’ll be able to apply for emergency use approval in the third week of November:

The companies said they planned to submit for emergency use authorization to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration soon after they have two months of data, which is currently on track for the third week of November.

Based on current projections, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020, and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.

The companies said they plan to submit data from the full phase three trial, which began on July 27, for scientific peer-review publication.

So here’s where we stand, based on the current news: a COVID-19 vaccine will start being distributed within 24 hours of emergency approval and Pfizer has stated they expect to have 50 million doses available this year with UP TO 1.3 billion doses next year. Two doses will be required per patient. And according to Keith Olbermann, Pfizer is the *only* frontrunner that didn’t take Operation Warp Speed funding but their partner BioNTech took $445 million in OWS funding:

Nothing is concrete at this point. Emergency approval is far from guaranteed. But the markets are surging this morning as people are hopeful that this could be the first domino to fall on the path to regaining some semblance of normality and what life was like this time last year.

Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said “With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis.”

According to an article in the Post, there is a large measure of ‘vaccine hesitancy’ with around 60% of physicians saying they would get the vaccine and 40% of nurses. It seems naive to think those numbers wouldn’t change some after full results of Phase 3 human trials are published and the physicians are able to read through them but maybe I’m naive to think people change their minds about anything.