Final Analysis of Phase 3 Trial Show Pfizer’s Coronavirus Vaccine Is 95% Effective With No Safety Concerns

Last week, Pfizer announced that their COVID-19 vaccine was 90% effective, and that seemed like really good news. Then Moderna announced that they had developed a vaccine that was 94.5% effective, and unlike the Pfizer vaccine, it could be kept at normal refrigerator temperatures.

Now, Pfizer says that the phase 3 trial shows that their COVID-19 vaccine is actually 95% effective with no concerning side effects. In July, 43,661 volunteers took part in the phase 3 trial, and 41,135 have also received a second placebo or vaccine. In total, there were 170 coronavirus cases in volunteers who got a placebo shot and 8 cases in those who got the vaccine. Of those cases, 10 of them were severe, but only one of those severe cases was  from someone who was vaccinated.

The volunteers were intentionally diverse. According to Pfizer, “Approximately 42% of global participants and 30% of U.S. participants have racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, and 41% of global and 45% of U.S. participants are 56-85 years of age.”

Side effects for the vaccine have been monitored by an independent group, and so far, they look really mild. According to these companies, “The only Grade 3 (severe) solicited adverse event greater than or equal to 2% in frequency after the first or second dose was fatigue at 3.7% following dose 2.”

Pfizer says they plan to “produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.” The vaccine will be manufactured in Kalamazoo, Michigan, St. Louis, Andover, Massachusetts, and the Belgian city Puurs.

The biggest concern with the Pfizer vaccine is that it needs to be kept at -103 degrees Fahrenheit, but Pfizer and BioNTech say that shouldn’t be a problem. “The companies have developed specially designed, temperature-controlled thermal shippers utilizing dry ice to maintain temperature conditions of -70°C.” As long as these shippers are refilled with dry ice, the vaccine can be safely stored inside for up to 15 days.