Pfizer plans to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.
A vaccine to prevent COVID-19 could soon be a reality. Pfizer and BioNTech announced Monday, November 9 that a COVID-19 vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing the virus. However, will everyone have access to it? That is what some are wondering after Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer chairman and CEO, reportedly said that US “citizens” would have access to a free vaccine.
According to CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins, “The vaccine will be available for free to all American citizens.”
In response to that comment, the Working Families Party, a progressive grassroots political party, tweeted: “The vaccine must be free and available to all Americans regardless of citizenship status. We demand emergency care for ALL of us now.”
Nicole Melaku, Executive Director for the National Partnership for New Americans, a national partnership representing immigrant and refugee rights organizations in 31 states, said it is critical that the COVID-19 vaccine is made available for free to all people in the US, including undocumented immigrants as a large majority of them are frontline workers.
“Public health experts have been clear that undocumented immigrants, many of whom are essential workers, must be included in a comprehensive COVID-19 federal response to truly be successful,” Melaku told The Americano.
According to a report about undocumented immigrants and COVID-19, public health experts recommended that any comprehensive policy should address the needs of all members of our society.
The Americano reached out to Pfizer and they stated that Dr. Bourla’s comments are based on the statement issued by the US government on July 22, in which they referenced access to the COVID-19 vaccine to “American people.”
“Immigrants are part of the community, they are your neighbors, your children’s school mates, and restaurant workers, it is imprudent and cruel to suggest you can carry out a successful public health policy without including all members of the community,” Melaku said in response to Pfizer’s comment.
Helena Olea, Associate Director of Alianza Americas, a nonprofit network of migrant-led organizations, said this pandemic is affecting all people of this country, and the government must address everyone equally.
“Public health measures address public health needs felt by all members of a community regardless of their citizenship or migratory status,” Olea said in a statement to The Americano. “It would not make any sense nor ensure the effectiveness of any public health policy to restrict it on the basis of citizenship or migratory status. We are all members of the same communities and we inhabit the same spaces therefore public health is health for all. Alianza Americas is confident that access to testing, treatment, and vaccination for COVID-19 will not discriminate on the basis of nationality or migratory status.”
On Nov. 9, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their COVID-19 vaccine results were based on the analysis of 94 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in trial participants. The study enrolled 43,538 participants, with 42% having diverse backgrounds. The trial revealed that no serious safety concerns were observed. However, safety and additional efficacy data continue to be collected.
The Phase 3 clinical trial began on July 27 and first enrolled 43,538 participants to date. As of Nov. 8, 38,955 people have received a second dose of the vaccine candidate.
Pfizer and BioNTech stated that submission for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be planned for soon after the required safety milestone is achieved, which is currently expected to occur the third week of November.
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The clinical trial will continue through to final analysis at 164 confirmed cases to collect further data and characterize the vaccine candidate’s performance against other study endpoints. Pfizer plans to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.
“Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” said Bourla in a statement.
He added, “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.”