If Pfizer Inc PFE.N submits the positive initial data from its COVID-19 vaccine trial to health regulators as quickly as expected, the U.S. government plans to begin vaccinating Americans in December, Health Secretary Alex Azar said on Tuesday. Pfizer on Monday said the vaccine it has been developing with German partner BioNTech was 90% effective against COVID-19, based on an early look at results from its large, late-stage trial.
The U.S. drugmaker said it expects to have safety data as soon as next week that it needs to apply for emergency use authorization (EUA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Upon FDA authorization, the United States would receive about 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine per month, Azar said on a call with reporters, noting that HHS could being procuring supplies at the end of this month.
The Science Behind Mink and Coronavirus
Mutations in coronavirus have triggered culls of millions of farmed mink in Denmark. Part of the country has been put under lockdown after Danish authorities found genetic changes they say might undermine the effectiveness of future Covid-19 vaccines. More than 200 people have been infected with mink-related coronavirus. And the UK has imposed an immediate ban on all visitors from Denmark amid concerns about the new strain.
Danish scientists are particularly concerned about one mink-related strain of the virus, found in 12 people, which they say is less sensitive to protective antibodies, raising concerns about vaccine development. The World Health Organization has said the reports are concerning, but further studies are needed to understand the implications for treatments and vaccines.