The World Health Organization (WHO) says Covid vaccines must be “a global, public good” and warns it is not a “silver bullet.”
“I firmly believe that there is more hope ahead of us than despair behind us,” Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said in an online broadcast. He stressed that vaccines would not be a “silver bullet” as access to treatment would not be wide right away.
While news on the development of Covid vaccines is welcome, it has to reach people worldwide, he said.
His statements follow the clinical trial data from pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and Moderna, suggesting that their respective experimental vaccines are safe and highly effective at combatting Covid-19.
However, Kluge warned that “any Covid vaccine should be a global, public good” with equal access for all.
“In the last few days, we have received good news with two, particularly promising vaccines. However, this promise will never be realized unless we ensure that all countries have access to the vaccine market, that it is delivered equitably, that it is effectively deployed and that countries address pockets of vaccine hesitancy,” he said.
He believes that the distribution of Covid vaccines should prioritize health and social care as well as people with health conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus. He also urges the public to continuously observe health measures like mask-wearing and social distancing.
Pfizer, Moderna vaccines
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer reported that final analysis of the Phase 3 trial of its coronavirus vaccine indicated 95% effectiveness in preventing infections.
In the trial, Pfizer discovered 170 cases of coronavirus infection among volunteers, 162 of which were in people who received placebo or plain saline shots while the remaining 8 cases were from participants who received the BNT162b2 vaccine.
In a joint statement, Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said: “Efficacy was consistent across age, race and ethnicity demographics. The observed efficacy in adults over 65 years of age was over 94%.”
The companies continued: “There were 10 severe cases of Covid-19 observed in the trial, with nine of the cases occurring in the placebo group and one in the BNT162b2 vaccinated group.”
The trial involved an independent group tasked with observing results and side effects. “To date, the Data Monitoring Committee for the study has not reported any serious safety concerns related to the vaccine,” the firms said.
They added: “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.” In addition, the researchers found that older adults had fewer and milder adverse events.
In its news release, the pharma firm said: “These data also will be submitted to other regulatory agencies around the world.”
Additionally, Sahin said: “The rapid protection this vaccine provides — combined with its tolerability profile in all age groups studied so far — should help make this vaccine an important tool to address the current pandemic.”
Several days ago, Moderna said its vaccine is 94.5% effective based on early data results and that it will apply for approval to use the vaccine.
According to Moderna, it is a “great day,” they will seek approval to use the Covid-19 vaccine in the next few weeks. However, this is considered early data and still has key questions that need answers.
The trial, which proved that the Moderna vaccine is 94.5% effective, registered 30,000 participants in the U.S. with half being given two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart. The rest took dummy injections. The analysis was taken from the first 95 to manifest Covid-19 symptoms.