The success of Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine trial may help persuade more people to get inoculated amid a surge in new coronavirus cases, according to Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious-disease doctor.
Pfizer’s vaccine, developed in collaboration with Germany’s BioNTech SE, has “an extraordinarily high degree of efficacy — more than 90%, close to 95%,” Fauci said in an interview. That could be a key factor in overcoming reluctance to take pandemic vaccines that have been developed at top speed.
The US may begin offering the vaccine to priority groups at the end of December, Fauci said. It’s hoped to blunt spiking infections that reached a record 190,000 new daily cases this week. The Trump administration has both purchased and funded development of doses from Pfizer and other drugmakers with a goal of making enough supplies for most Americans by year-end.
The name of the administration’s effort, Operation Warp Speed, may have created an impression that corners are being cut to create a vaccine, undermining public confidence, researchers including Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, have said.
Just over half of US adults said in September they would definitely or probably take a vaccine to prevent Covid-19 if it were available, down from 72% in May, a national survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center showed.
The vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech SE and Moderna are given in a two-shot regimen.
More than 20 Covid vaccines have entered the final stage of patient studies that new pharmaceutical products are usually required to undergo for regulatory approval.