Guyana welcomes Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough

Last Updated on Monday, 9 November 2020, 15:32 by Denis Chabrol

Dr Frank Anthony

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony is welcoming today’s announcement by Pfizer and BioNTech that they have produced a vaccine that’s 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 infections.

The vaccine is still undergoing Phase 3 trials, and Dr. Anthony says the key is how long the vaccine will be effective for.

“As to how long that immunity will last and once the scientists are able to determine that, I think this announcement is great news,” he told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News in a brief telephone interview.

According to preliminary findings, protection in patients was achieved seven days after the second of two doses, and 28 days after the first.

“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,” Pfizer chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.

This vaccine is one of those that is set to be distributed through the COVAX Facility, a mechanism established by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and World Health Organization (WHO).

This facility aims to provide governments with early access to a large portfolio of COVID-19 candidate vaccines using a range of technology platforms, produced by multiple manufacturers across the world.

The Guyana Health Minister says Guyana stands to benefit through COVAX. “I’m not sure whether this vaccine is one of the vaccines that COVAX has been looking at but if it is we’ll certainly be able to get through that mechanism,” Dr. Anthony said.

Across much of the globe, Covid-19 infections rates are hitting record highs, with hospital intensive care units filling up and death tolls mounting.