Pfizer’s Vaccine Offers Strong Protection After First Dose

Dec 08, 2020 · 415 comments
Donald (Florida)
Was Trump planning on only giving out does to this who voted for him? What is the penalty he should pay for this?
Subscriber (USA)
@Donald Please stop sowing divisive falsehoods. I’m no fan of Trump, but find misinformation unbecoming and dangerous, regardless of political orientation.
drcmd (sarasota, fl)
How can the NYT extol the virtues of a Trump vaccine??? He planned and pushed Operation Warp Speed to the greedy private sector, rather than public servants in government health care agencies combined with brilliant minds at prestigious American universities. These companies created vaccines and antibody treatments for the sake of profits. This was Trump's Manhattan Project, but for profit. Given all we know of Trump, how can any of this be any good, let alone safe. American Progressives must reject the Trump vaccine, the Trump monoclonal antibody treatment, and any other so called innovation that was created as result, directly or indirectly, of Trump's Operation Warp Speed. Joe Biden would make sure safety came first, that the federal government protects us from greedy companies, and that something intentionally fast, actually named Warp Speed for goodness sake, would never be inflicted on us. We need, and will soon get, Joe Speed, much more controlled and cautious, and immensely superior to Trump and his Warp Speed.
Has Antibody Dependents Enhancements been studies in vitro on in the animal studies? I am all for a vaccine to end this pandemic, but it seems that no doctor or state rep is able to answer this question. Is there sources that someone can share where ADE was considered ? I would appreciate it.
L osservatore (In fair Verona, where we lay our scene)
Was there ever an actual, considered rationale behind Gov. Cuomo's angry rant about not using and vaccine developed while The Jobs Prez was in the Wite House? Did a single member of the East Coast news media dare offer an explanation of how dangerous such angry speech can be, getting people to neglect their health?
Kerm (Wheatfields)
If the first dose of the mRNA cell change is 52% effective for ones immune system to respond to the similar spikes as in a corona virus to detect the potential infecting cell in a person, what is the second shot necessary for ones immune system to improve the recognition(s) to 95%? Does this then mean that the injection is really only 52% effective and therefore another shot is absolutely necessary as a second boost to about 95% and therefore may warrant or incur future injections also, especially since the trials do not indicate a length of effectiveness of or for these injections? Other questions: Is mRNA a vaccine or a cell changer? How does mRNA signal the the immune system to an actual corona virus and then in turn fight it off for our protections? From readings am getting that these companies are making two different types of injections w/effectiveness or not (as we do not know yet all the trials conducted to date by all these companies involved in finding a solution(s)). Is there any where where this kind of information may be available to the public, in public language we all can assess, what exactly is being created and expected of us to take based on minimal knowledge in a minimal amount of time. Also there appear to be many logistics, one being the amount(s) available only on an emergency FDA expected and desired approval.
Sara (Oakland)
Trump & his cronies are simply bad businessmen and worse protectors of the national good. If they decided to roll the dice & fund multiple pharmaceutical companies development of a vaccine (a long shot)- they surely could have chipped in a little more and guaranteed access to a sufficient quantity if effective. Hedging risk in a big gamble seems foolish- as they say- there was already much more sunk money than cost for extra supply. This is clear evidence of Trump's catastrophic bungling as he put 99% of his energy into fluffing his rally image.
Tyler (Wisconsin)
@Sara Hedging risk was buying 100 million doses without any evidence. I get it we all hate and think Trump is terrible, but the logic presented by a lot of the criticism doesnt make sense. We should be blaming Trump and Pfizer, the latter of which seems to care more about profits than anything else.
Victor (Atlanta)
Approve it already!
Tyler (Wisconsin)
Pfizer received over 1 billion in pre-ordered vaccine, of a new technology, that at the time had no or at least limited evidence that it would work, yet now they act as if they owe the American people (essentially the initial investors) nothing? Great. It mainly seems like politics and profits. I blame Trump administration for stupidity and somehow actually being patient to wait for data (who would have thought), but I also blame Pfizer for caring more about profits and the bottom line than the health of their consumers and the greater world. Media needs to push for free vaccines and removal of ownership rights...hundred of thousands of people's lives and sanity depends on it.
L Hoberman (Earth)
Wow, “gender” doesn’t even get a call out??? We are 50% of the population, you know.
etg (warwick, ny)
Reality. Facis. A real killer. 300,000 dead soon and some people think it is not real. How do they know? Because the number one lier of all time told them so. And he also told them he won the election. I wonder what his top lawyer in the hospital with this non-existant, it will go away, there are only a few cases, etc. has to say? Now America has to move on.
Mike (NY)
This headline is a bit of an overstatement—immunogenicity was significantly lower in the 65-85 age group without a dose 1.5x higher than that of the younger group and no one >85 was tested. Reminder: the average age of death from Covid is >80.
njn_Eagle_Scout (Lakewood CO)
Personally, I have no confidence that the -70C temperature can be maintained throughout the entire supply chain path from Pfizer to the local pharmacy in the small pharmacies. How will compliance with the storage temperatures be monitored?
YReader (Seattle)
I'm surprised at myself. While reading this I found myself tearing up, with relief that the end is in sight. THANK YOU to all of the scientists, supply chain experts, health care workers, trial recipients, people I have no idea who have a hand in this and global governments who have been supporting this effort and will continue to do so going forward.
Brett (CA)
"The vaccine has a high efficacy rate in both men and women, as well as similar rates in white, Black and Latino people." Race has nothing to do with how a vaccine will work on a person as far as I know seeing that race is a social construct and we all share more than 99.9% of the same genes.
Dan (Newport Beach)
@Brett They weren't being racist, just let it go.
Robert (Out west)
Yes, Virginia, race matters. It matters in two fundamental ways. 1. It matters because of social inequity (which is real, okay?) and because the a) history of medical experiments on black men and women has left them, gosh, a tad bit distrusting, and b) the persecutions of brown people from south of the border, down Mexico way, has left them also distrustful in a situarion where we badly need to get as many as possible vaccinated as fast as possible. 2. Because not so long ago, research and care for women was rooted in the theory that they’re really just men. Guess what. Very similarly, we are just getting around to looking hard at differences among ethnicities, and we already know that in fact diseases and outcomes differ. Look up sickle-cell, thalassenemia, Tay-Sachs and others if you’re not sure about this. There SHOULD’T be big differences with vaccines, but we do...not...know. You’ve got a cheap PC posit confused with biological realities as they are distributed in populations with common histories. It’s a question of differences, not inferiorities. And I have to add, I sure get tired of this “all lives matter,” jazz.
Kara Jones (New York, NY)
@Brett You are 100% wrong. This has nothing to do with racism and is, in fact, quite the opposite. For years, drug companies never considered racial/ethnic/gender differences in people's responses to drugs. That led to people having poor responses and side-effects to various drugs. Racial/ethnic differences in drug responses have been described for a range of drugs, and they reflect genetic differences, environmental differences, and fundamental differences in the pathogenesis of diseases. It's an excellent thing that they are now, indeed, considering race/ethnicity/gender and so forth in the development of vaccines and other drugs.
BK (San Francisco)
I wonder if Trump or Biden can invoke the Defense Production Act to increase production of this vaccine. The USA has 1 million new covid cases in just 5 days. Not long ago, it took one week to accumulate 1 million new cases. It is possible that cases will accumulate even faster. We really need vaccines to push back.
Robert (Out west)
This ain’t mixing paint down to the Home Depot, you know.
a (b)
trump balked at 100,000,000 doses when pfizer offered first to us...i think u mean biden...trump should be tried for crimes against humanity for not securing those doses for all american citizens
Hankydooski (Oregon)
Yeah, well, it doesn’t help that Trump’s having super spreader events every single day at the White House. He’s already had 10 Christmas parties with no masks. Can’t really fix stupid. Unfortunately, he’s not only spreading the virus, he’s spreading lies as well. Since he’s been so great at not listening to science, we’ll see what his followers do when it comes to getting the vaccine and showing compassion for others. So far, they’ve not listened. America, land of covidiots.
City Gal (Trenton, NJ)
So. . . are Asians not people? Or perhaps there's not such thing as an Asian race? The headline states that it works well regardless of a volunteer's race. Buried in the article is the information that it works well regardless of a volunteer's race, as long as the race is white, Black, or Latino.
Kate (Los Angeles)
@City Gal Well, race is a social construct and is not biological, so it's a little silly that they mention it at all.
Teddy (Berlin)
@City Gal The article also capitalize the word black but not white. Perhaps from their point of view black and latino are "different" while white is "normal"? And Asians do not even have the "privilege" to be either "normal" or "different" but "transparent". This article is so ironic.
Kara Jones (New York, NY)
@Kate No, it is not "silly". Racial/ethnic differences in drug responses have been described for a range of drugs, and they reflect genetic differences, environmental differences, and fundamental differences in the pathogenesis of diseases. It's an excellent thing that they are now, indeed, considering race/ethnicity/gender and so forth in the development of vaccines and other drugs. Until not that long ago, people suffered bad effects from various drugs that were given to them without consideration for the fact that they might not be appropriate for someone with their genetic background.
A. Stanton (Dallas, TX)
“I see disinfectant, where it knocks [coronavirus] out in a minute—one minute—and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that. So you're going to have to use medical doctors, but it sounds interesting to me. --- President Trump, 4/24/20 With the new vaccines still in short supply, I believe some sort of compromise is in order between our warring political factions, one that would allow everyone who voted for Biden to receive one of the new and approved vaccines immediately, while allowing everyone who voted for Trump to receive their choice of hydroxychloroquine or some sort of bleach like Clorox.
tom harrison (seattle)
I felt pretty good about all of this until I made the mistake of doing a little search with two words - Pfizer, lawsuits. They have already made a hefty payment over a faulty vaccine trial and had to recall a few products after false advertising. Forgive me for being skeptical but my great-grandparents were told by Bayer pharmaceutical that heroin was perfectly safe. It was even put into cough syrup for fussy babies which explains my grandpa and his insanity. J&J baby powder? Oxys? We could go on an on an on. Pharma companies have a pretty bad track record when it comes to honesty. Its the American way. We lie to each other every day for a dollar. "Its my biggest, best burger ever!" (no, its the same one you have peddled for 20 years, you just rearranged the pseudo-bacon on top).
Robert (Out west)
Reference, please. Only lawsuits I can find are either over an antibiotic used in a Nigerian meningitis outbreak, and a class action suit over orice-fixing. Nothing on vaccines. Your second para is completely irrelevant, and factually very shaky. The fact of the matter is, you’re arguing just like your basic anti-vaxxer.
Mary Comfort (Aptos, CA)
Maybe they turned it down so we'd have a good excuse to buy from Russia?
W in the Middle (NY State)
Given that the first dose is significantly effective – and we're only going to get half the (mRNA-based) production anticipated... Why not do a massive clinical trial now – with only half of those getting 1st doses getting a 2nd... Could be done on a purely voluntary basis... Take your ordered list – however you devise it – and ask people whether they'd be willing to forego a 2nd dose... Now make it into 2 lists, and administer half the doses to each one... Followed by a 2nd dose, for half… Not only would you get massive clinical trial data – the vaccine would reach ~33% more people, on average... PS Don’t anyone twist yourself in knots, trying to find some reason BAU clinical trial protocol is better, or somehow more “expert”… It isn’t… For starters, remember that half of the folks in the BAU trial got a fake dose…
Robert (Out west)
No knots needed; they’re better and more expert. More ethical, too, since what you’re proposing is to turn millions of people into lab rats. Dude, if you change a clinical protocol like that, you have to go back to animal testing.
Reader (EU)
In just a few months we will all be drowning in Covid vaccines, masks and Playstation 5s. Thats capitalism.
Alan (NYC)
The correct name for this vaccine is the "Pfizer-BioNTech" vaccine, not the "Pfizer" vaccine. The NYT is being disrespectful of BioNTech and the truth. This is part of Trump-FDA propaganda so that Trump can describe the vaccine as the "Trump Vaccine." Hard to do when the vaccine was developed in Germany.
Sari (USA)
@Alan Not if you remember grandpa drumph came from Germany. ( real family name )
Musso (Brooklyn)
Even more than that. Correct name of the vaccine is BNT162b2, which refers to “BioNTech”, Pfizer nothing to do with it!
Sari (USA)
We could have been right along with the UK in getting vaccines if trump had acted appropriately. Now he's demanding the vaccine. How dare he play with the health of our citizens. This just proves what a useless, inept jerk he is. He exhibits his incompetency day after day. It sounded so hopeful for those who have been in isolation for all these months. Now it's a waiting game.
KCG (Catskill, NY)
This headline seems deeply wrong in so many ways. Even if this was a finding in the data the vaccine requires two shots to get full value. Since many people will get sick when given this vaccine, this headline makes it seem like it would be okay to skip the second dose. This is just bad journalism. Why would you make this claim counter to the two dose protocol?
lisa (michigan)
Thank god trump got fired or he would have distributed the vaccine the same disaster as PPE equipment. Kennedy said a bunch of interns with no supply chain experience were running PPE and PPE going to hospitals who CEO were trump donors. A Young Kennedy, in Kushnerland, Turned Whistle-Blower › magazine › 2020/09/28 › a-yo... Sep 28, 2020 — When Robert F. Kennedy's grandson Max volunteered with Jared Kushner's ... to get vital personal protective equipment, such as masks, to virus hot spots. ... of dollars' worth of supplies to only five preselected distributors.
Pw (Md)
Well just make sure all those deplorables who don't believe the virus is real don't get vaccinated and perish over the next year or so. We'll be a better off Country without them that's for sure !!
Expat (Zurich)
It is NOT Pfizer's vaccine It is BionTech's Vaccine The vaccine name is BNT162b2 BNT stands for BionTech ( A company in Mainz Germany)
Musso (Brooklyn)
I agree with you. Also, I don’t understand why the media calls it the Pfizer’s vaccine.
ratherbegolfin (Ky)
If only the WH administration had secured more vaccine and less hydroxychloroquine.
susan (7657)
Clearly trump turned down Pfizer's offer of more doses this last summer because he had invested in and was hawking Moderna.So yet again we citizens whose tax money was used to advance these vaccines get screwed so Fat Boy can make a buck. Deplorable.
The FDA and deep state officials have been slow rolling this Pfizer vaccine approval. The news broke this morning of the FDA report of efficacy and safety, meaning it existed yesterday with drafts days or weeks earlier. The FDA Advisory committee will get around to reviewing it on Thursday. Sorry, the DMV approach to pandemics won' t do. Is their Zoom broken? The Biden campaign had been getting color from inside the FDA during the campaign. They even got word of the vaccine results before Trump. Now they are sitting idly by as people die. This is the greatest travesty of the entire pandemic. There is no excuse.
Aaron saxton (Charleston, WV)
Many vaccines never make it to market because of side effects noted months and years down the road. No one knows the side effects that are or are not going to show up 8-18 months down the road. The FDA was always bound to approve a vaccine that showed some workability and have to forgo the knowledge of long term effects. Celebrations should be reserved for the end of 2021.
Musso (Brooklyn)
Celebrations should start NOW!
Aaron saxton (Charleston, WV)
@Musso Agreed it is good news, and sorry to be a pessimist...but...lets see how long its protection lasts, what side effects it has, and does it handle strain variants. I suspect the immunity will last 3-6 months, and I suspect variants will cause it problems, and I suspect some will have serious side effects long term - probably not enough to recall the vaccines though. This vaccine also will not much alter the death ratios we are seeing until probably mid 2021. And should immunity be temporary, the virus will still be doing rampant damage. We will see.
Jay Fox (NYC)
The UK is mass inoculating their citizens with an American vaccine (Pfizer is US) and the FDA is twiddling their thumbs re-checking data?!? Quadruple checking data is all fine and good for your average flu vaccine. But if the FDA hasn’t noticed, 3000+ people are dying a day! And ER doctors like my sister are getting infected. Like Trump says, the FDA has to get on war footing and stop following procedures meant for normal times. Get it approved!
JH (Manhattan)
@Jay Fox It's a German vaccine.
Frank (Boston)
Be glad you don’t live in the EU. They don’t plan to have their regulators look at the data until December 29! That’s gov’mint for you.
Perite Leno (drdr) (Rome)
Hooray for science!!! We are looking forward to receiving our shipments of vaccine.
Alex (LA)
So you're trying to make everyone as suspicious as possible about Astrazeneca and as trusting as possible of Pfizer. This paper's revenue comes from advertising, usually selling luxury brands to its rich subscriber base. From the style section to the food section, this paper will always tell you to buy the expensive one, not the cheap one. Could this just be more of the same? Oxford produced a comparable product but cheaper. Do the math. I do not trust this paper, but I do trust Oxford university. There is a perfectly good chance everything you've said in this and the other article is perfectly correct. But too much money is at stake here for me to trust you. You were very concerned with the efficacy of the Oxford vaccine but somewhat vague about why, and didn't include all the context. Then here, you acknowledge that there were some pretty serious possible side effects in this trial, but choose not to use that to reduce people's faith in the vaccine, and are instead extremely bullish on its prospects. These are local companies, while Astrazeneca is a foreign one. There are other explanations for some of your concerns. Certain interests, notably Bill Gates, are really invested in making these MRNA vaccines the new normal. One thing that you haven't acknowledged is that the temperature the MRNA vaccines have to be stored at is very low and refrigeration is very carbon intensive. We're talking about vaccinating the whole world here, so keep that in mind.
No Josef Goebbels (Ewe Ess Eh)
@Alex You MAY be right, Alex, and if you are from L.A., you should review the findings on Hollywierd celebs and Corporate moguls paying outrageous sums to get their UNQUALIFIED kids, into USC, UCLA, Stanford et. al., ahead of truly qualified students. When it comes to PR and Fundraising, I have yet to find, an HONEST man, or organization, that doesn't huckster like a D.C. lobbyist, a snake oil salesman, a Wall $treeter, or a poolitician. Cash Flow, TRUMPS (how appropos!) everything. And the APPEARANCE of 'propriety' or giving a rat's 'bottom' about the masses, is a well oiled SMOKE screen. Caveat Emptor!!! (On steroids!!!)
George S. (Pgh Pa)
Over 1500 died today - yet not holding a hearing on approval until this weekend?? Why? The data is not going to change, what is more important than a vaccine to stop a deadly pandemic?
Robert (Out west)
I think they had some wacky, liberal notion that the thing to do was actually LOOK at the data, not copy off somebody else’s exam. Them libs, huh? Go figure.
Noah (Canada)
Kudos to trump team and operation warp speed. Naturally Joe Biden's going to plagiarize it as his victory.
William (New York)
Pfizer's vaccine wasn't developed with federal funding
Sharon Sanders (60062)
@Noah Trump deserves no credit; but he does deserve credit for the disease itself, the lack of providing PPE and testing, and having rallies with people on top of each other without masks. He's been anti-science from Day One, defunding every regulatory agency and telling scientists they could not talk to reporters. As someone said, Biontech is German and deserves credit for the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine. Astrazeneca is foreign also and there are other vaccines out there sponsored by the WHO global initiative, which trump refused to participate in.
No Josef Goebbels (Ewe Ess Eh)
Wouldn't you feel a lot better if we could TRUST the WHO, CDC and FDA? It seems to me, these are institutions headed up by very carefully VETTED loyal Party members who huckster a poolitical theme. We saw in with Covid in China where the WHO kow-towed and grovelled before the Chinese power structure. Did NOT see any better performance from the ILLustrious CDC, and there is too much empirical data on the FDA dancing to Corporate America's tune. We, are going to WAIT some time before exposing our lives to some rushed vaccine , where NO ONE KNOWS the short term effects, and NOTHING of the longer term. Wear the mask! Wash hands appropriately. Minimize all human contact with everyone; you may be protecting not just your life, but those of the ones you love most!!! Few, if any 2nd chances, to SAVE LIVES!!!
Bob G. (San Francisco)
Too bad we're only getting enough of Pfizer's vaccine for 50 million people. (We have 328 million people in the U.S.)
rpm (Paris FR)
Does anyone care to take a critical eye here? This is, after all, new technology encapsulated in new technology. The near-term side effects may seem minimal but it probably will be two or three years before any long-term effects can definitively be ruled out. Yes, the theories behind these innovations are solid and the models we are able to project are promising, but in such an amazing and complex machine as the human body much is unpredictable. Having said that, there is one group of people who really should be prioritized for the vaccine as soon as possible: those with metabolic syndrome. Last I checked some 90% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients had one or more of the constituent illnesses of metabolic syndrome (obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high blood lipids and bad cholesterol), most having several. (We don't talk about these risk factors nearly enough.) Such people are already at risk for infertility, immune deficiency and early death, which are the most likely severe consequences of a vaccine gone wrong (IF there are any at all), so it is better to give them a chance at normal life. As for the rest of the population, a COVID-19 infection would be unpleasant but almost certainly not a medical emergency. There is no reason to insist most people take the chance before the long-term safety of the vaccine is confirmed.
Robert (Out west)
I’m getting the darn shots. You should stop eith the wissenschaft, and do the same.
Musso (Brooklyn)
Are you joking when you say that we have to wait two or three years?
Gabrielle (Los Angeles)
I don't understand. Did we actually plunk down millions at that time and then wait to see if the vaccine would work? If so, then it made sense to spread out the funds, since at the time we didn't know which vaccine would work. Or did we have a pretty good idea Pfizer was proceeding more successfully than others? Or was it a contingency: IF you produce an effective vaccine, THEN we'll buy so many million doses? If that's the case, we should have ordered more.
Toblerone (Cincinnati)
"On Thursday, F.D.A.’s vaccine advisory panel will discuss these materials in advance of a vote on whether to recommend authorization of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine." This really sounds like progress at the speed of Government. We have to wait until Thursday, for a meeting to decide whether to vote on approval? Red tape anyone??
Dan M (Massachusetts)
53 Million people were estimated to have been infected with COVID-19 as of late September according to the CDC. Why would those people need a vaccine if they already have protective antibodies ? One more profiteering boondoggle brought to you by the pharmaceutical companies and the federal government.
Teddy (Berlin)
"The vaccine has a high efficacy rate in both men and women, as well as similar rates in white, Black and Latino people. It also worked well in obese people, who carry a greater risk of getting sick with Covid-19." 17 million Asian Americans: Error 404; Population not found What a comprehensive article.
Robert Clawson (Massachusetts)
The root science that led to this breakthrough, was accomplished by a woman, an immigrant. Will Trump's misogyny and xenophobia allow him to give her credit?
merc (East Amherst, NY)
If Covid-19 morphs as it makes its way around the world, will the current vaccines efficacy remain equal to the task of protecting us?
Judy (NY)
The only problem is that the Trump Administration did not order enough of this wonderful Pfizer vaccine. As President Trump pointed out, they are after all not shipping clerks. And even Moderna vaccine manufactured in the US will be shipped to other countries whose outbreaks are less serious than ours. I wonder if we will have to sneak across the border into Canada to get a vaccine. To be on the safe side Canada ordered enough vaccine to vaccinate their population 10 times over. Not so the pennywise but pound foolish Trumpites. Canada might have compassion and let some of the most vulnerable of us have some of their leftovers.
joseph (los angeles)
@Judy I am pretty sure that this effort is entirely to the credit of Trump. If not for his tenacity we would never be this far along. Trump gets results.
jonhite (Amherst, MA)
@Judy -And Canada will probably sell their excess to their friends to the South.
L osservatore (In fair Verona, where we lay our scene)
@Judy - - - The American President had Congress invest $18 Billion in Operation Warp Speed. If THAT wasn't enough, how much would you have asked for to not be ''pennywise but pound foolish?''
FACP (Florida)
Deep inside the article is one side effect of Bell’s palsy in 4 patients , all of whom received the vaccine. This condition causes paralysis of one side of face, usually resolving in a few months. This is assumed to be an inflammatory or immune response to some viral infections like herpes. Similar side effect led to withdrawing of a nasal flue vaccine in Sweden. I would like to see more information about this before committing to taking the vaccine.
NR (Detroit)
this article states "Pfizer and BioNTech began a large-scale clinical trial in July, recruiting 44,000 people in the United States, Brazil and Argentina. Half of the volunteers got the vaccine, and half got the placebo." but in a NYT article from Dec. 4th '2 Companies Say Their Vaccines Are 95% Effective. What Does That Mean?' Carl Zimmer wrote "In the case of Pfizer, for example, the company recruited 43,661 volunteers and waited for 170 people to come down with symptoms of Covid-19 and then get a positive test. Out of these 170, 162 had received a placebo shot, and just eight had received the real vaccine.". So did 22,000 people get the vaccine or did 8 people get the vaccine? Can someone please explain what Im missing here?
Jaco (Nevada)
@NR 22000 got the vaccine only 8 of whom subsequently tested positive for the virus. A total of 170 folks tested positive so divide 162 by 170 and you get the 95.2% effectiveness of the vaccine.
Teddy (Berlin)
@Jaco Vaccine efficacy is not calculated in that way. Vaccine efficacy = (Attack rate of unvaccinated people - Attack rate of vaccinated people)/Attack rate of unvaccinated people*100% In this case, it is (162-8)/162*100% = 95.06%.
Jaco (Nevada)
@Teddy Ugh! Should have looked it up prior to commenting.
Josh (Albany, NY)
When the early results of the Moderna vaccine were made public just a couple of weeks ago, it was said that, in addition to providing 90-something-percent protection against getting Covid-19, it was also 100% effective at preventing people from developing *serious* Covid-19 infections...that none of the people who took the vaccine and did get Covid-19 had it progress to a serious level. I hear nothing about the Pfizer's vaccine in this regard, and would be interested in hearing about it. In the absence of more information, it seems like the Moderna vaccine is a better bet than the Pfizer vaccine (not even factoring in the complex storage and transportation issues that the Pfizer vaccine has).
tmauel (Menomonie)
The chairman of Pfizer has acknowledged their vaccine will not stop transmission of Covid 19. The vaccinated could become unwitting super spreaders. Pfizer also allowed vaccination of all participants in the control group erasing all safety data beyond a month or two.
JH (Manhattan)
@tmauel Not true.
tmauel (Menomonie)
@JH What specifically is not true? Are you denying the words of the chairman of the board of Pfizer. Fauci also stated the Pfizer vaccine will not stop Covid 19 transmission. The safety data is also clear. Giving the placebo group the vaccine after the limited one or two months of trial is a common practice by big pharma to cover up long term safety data.
Cue (Denver, CO)
Remember, this is the vaccine that the Trump administration did NOT buy more of when Pfizer offered it, and now we have to wait in line behind other countries contracts until June or July. Why wouldn't we buy it? Could it be because Pfizer did not join Operation Warp Speed? Could it be because when the Trump administration tried to take credit for Pfizer's speed in developing the vaccine, Pfizer pushed back hard, pointing out that the administration had nothing to do with it? Could this have been Trump's petty revenge?
J Harrod (Fredericksburg)
@Cue Well, it would be nice and easier to distribute if it wasn't kept a temperatures requiring huge investments by hospitals and complex storage plans. Those vaccines that avoid those issues are becoming available . When they are approved they will make the Pfizer vaccine obsolete. Very rational planning- if you know the rest of the story.
Bob Richards (USA)
@Cue I don't think we have enough information to know all the reasons behind not committing to buy more Pfizer doses. But, since we are speculating... First, if the US committed up front to buying all the doses we need from two or three companies, that may tend to demotivate other companies to continue with their development and may deprive the world of a better (more effective, fewer side effects, no long term side effects, longer lasting, and/or easier distribution and administration etc.) vaccine. Competition may be beneficial. Second, relying on one or two vaccines could be a serious problem in the (very remote) possibility that there are long term significant side effects of those one or two vaccines. Would we want virtually every adult in the US to suffer from such long term health issues? There's a risk of putting all your eggs in one or two baskets when it's likely there will be other baskets available. Diversity may be beneficial. Overall, this is looking like another timing win for the Democratic party. Just as Obama took over when the economy was on the rebound and got credit for the recovery (even though it was the slowest such recovery in US history), Biden has been handed a solved problem on a silver platter and many will forget that he did nothing to get credit for. That's politics though, the ignorant public is not good with "correlation vs. causation" as it seems not to be something one learns before being given a high school diploma.
hawk (New England)
@Cue The Admin contracted with seven different pharmaceuticals to manufacture vaccines, BEFORE any went to trials. It's called hedging your bet. I'll wager President Sleepy Joe never gets a fake story from the press, Oh wait, never mind. It's what they DON'T tell you that's fake!
Can the Biden administration provide funding and facilities to Pfizer to speed the production of additional vaccines? If so, can Biden & Co begin to lay the foundation now for funding and production, perhaps by negotiating with Pfizer, talking to Congress, and exploring invoking the DPA to require American companies to participate in manufacturing efforts?
J Harrod (Fredericksburg)
@RMC Why would you want to do that we more easily distributed and easier to administer vaccines are becoming available? Pfizer isn't the only game in town.
meritocracy now (AK)
I think most people reading this article understand there may be some risks, very low probability, with getting vaccinated. Most also understand the risk is far greater from possibly contracting COVID-19. Commenters to NYT articles are a pretty well educated bunch in general. If you have the time please consider commenting on some of the ill-informed videos on YouTube. Newsmax, 0ANN and others are full of mis-information on COVID-19 and other subjects. Some of the people who comment and ask questions on those sites could really benefit from some factual information. Jumping into their bubble, debunking a thing or two and jumping back out into your day doesn’t take that much time or effort. However you could be helping someone and their family from getting very sick or worse. Granted, arguing with “true believers” is a complete waste of time however there are quite a few people who post questions and are looking for facts to base their decisions on. After corresponding with some of these people you sometimes realize their logic isn’t that far off. If you were basing your decisions on bad Intel, and your Compass didn’t point North you also might arrive at some interesting but incorrect locations. ‘Nuff said
Gloria Anders (NYC)
Great news! Sign me up for one. Make that two! Operation Warp Speed!
DaveD (Wisconsin)
“Race, weight or age.” Only two of these factors are metrics. Why is the totally subjective criterion of race included in a scientific analysis? Might as well use religious affiliation.
Yogi (Ny)
In our society race is a risk factor largely by association with socioeconomic status. People who are brown or recent immigrant are more likely to work in at risk essential jobs, less likely to receive good health care, including vaccines and management of chronic conditions with high prevalence, and are therefore at risk of more serious outcomes from Covid 19. If you visit an ER, the observational evidence may become more clear.
Yogi (Ny)
Additionally, race is not a totally subjective criterion. But your point is fair in its own way, too. We should certainly be careful to acknowledge that! I think a possibly stranger question in America is why we do not allow market forces (ie pricing) to determine who gets the vaccine, like we do for so much of our care. We are so strange in our conflicting
Abbott Hall (Westfield, NJ)
@DaveD Because there are differences to how various racial groups respond to therapies. There is a medical field known as pharmacogenomics which studies these differences.
Barbara (SC)
This is good news. Now we need to find a way to explain to the masses how a vaccine this effective can be made so quickly. A lot of the mistrust seems to stem from a lack of understanding of the mRNA process. No doubt many will assume that the headache and other side effects they may have after the first dose mean they caught the virus, which is impossible since the virus is not in the vaccine. An effective rollout has to address these issues more thoroughly.
tmauel (Menomonie)
@Barbara The chairman of Pfizer has acknowledged their Covid 19 vaccine does not halt transmission of the disease. Those who are vaccinated will not exhibit symptoms potentially making the vaccinated super spreaders.
Sam (NY)
Actually he said it’s not known if it stops transmission. There’s a difference between not knowing and having data showing it doesn’t stop transmission. Hopefully we will have the answers to this question soon.
Barbara (SC)
@tmauel Dr. Fauci has said they are unlikely to be able to transmit the virus even if they have some in their nasopharynx. Therefore, they are not likely to be super spreaders. Please be careful to check before assuming.
citybumpkin (Earth)
Good news, but hopefully the pressure for good news doesn’t skew data collection and analysis. Between a lot of money on the line and an expectant and sometimes screaming angry public, it’s not an ideal environment for unbiased data analysis.
Jana Weldon (Phoenix)
It is solid to await FDA approval, but to have to wait an extra six months because doses weren't purchased really sticks in my craw!
Subscriber (USA)
Take a look at this other NYT article, “C.D.C. Call for Data on Vaccine Recipients Raises Alarm Over Privacy,” for more on how the Trumpists are sabotaging trust in/of federal agencies and hindering vaccination and other public health efforts.
Ed (Ann Arbor, MI)
Headline as of now is "Pfizer’s Vaccine Offers Strong Protection After First Dose." That language seems a bit...strong...for 52 percent. How about this: "Pfizer's Vaccine Offers Some Protection After First Dose"?
Dave HARTLEY (Ocala, Fl.)
Some good news. At least for UK.
Mike C. (Florida)
Nice to know the new vaccine works regardless of your race, creed or color. But why was England given so many doses from Pfizer, before the U.S.?
Me (Mid-America)
England want “given” anything. The doses were purchased by the government. The US had the opportunity to purchase additional doses over the summer but declined.
citybumpkin (Earth)
@Mike C. I think their government health agency approved it sooner and bought doses.
saul (Seattle)
What I would like to understand is how a process that everyone says normally takes years have been reduced to less than a year. does anyone have info or resources on this? I believe in the science but sometimes science needs time to be verified, thus the need for extensive testing, peer reviewing, etc After all there's so much pressure to be the first or be the one that "saves the world" and humans are humans and many times mistakes are made because of pressure or accelerated efforts and I am worried an important detail has been missed.
citybumpkin (Earth)
@saul Supposedly there have been new techniques that have sped up vaccine development in recent years, it’s just until now the public haven’t had reason to pay much attention. The other part is there is far more desperation and therefore much more money in this than other vaccines. For the pharma companies and for the research labs. Like anything else, when you make it top priority and *pay* whatever it costs to make it top priority...
Suoerma (GR)
It takes 5 years to see the efficiency & safety. There's no way to speed that process except through desperation.
Superma (GR)
It takes 5 years to conclude how safe it is. Countries are desperate. They're jabbing the elders first, "coencidently" the people who rely on give for pensions
Ron (Montreal)
If the vaccine starts becoming effective with the first dose, and dose supplies are limited, might it not be the best strategy to change the schedule so that the booster doses are given later (e.g. six months?). That would double the number of people given the vaccine this winter. Given the way this is raging, I'd rather have double the people given partial protection in those first six months, especially since that 52% might go up with time.
Marge Keller (Midwest)
I recall reading an article back in April in the NYT in which scientists at the Jenner Institute at Oxford University “had a head start on a vaccine, having proved in previous trials that similar inoculations were harmless to humans. That has enabled them to leap ahead and schedule tests of their new coronavirus vaccine involving more than 6,000 people by the end of May, hoping to show not only that it is safe, but also that it works.” The Oxford scientists thought an emergency approval from regulators could be available by early fall. When I read that the U.K. would begin vaccinations for the general public, this did not come as a surprise to me. The knowledge and experience and leadership at Oxford, especially in the sciences, continue to lead the way on so many levels. It feels great to finally sign a little sigh of relief and even have some solid hope for a change. A sincere congratulations and thank you to the Oxford team for the many, many relentless hours of hard work and sleepless nights.
JH (Manhattan)
@Marge Keller The UK has started its vaccination program with the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine. The Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine has not been approved yet in the UK (or anywhere else).
There is no reason why the FDA did not approve the EUA for this vaccine, which is safe and effective, 2 weeks ago. This delay is costing lives. The UK approved it ahead of the US.
NW (Washington)
@RP. Had there been flaws in the preliminary safety data, that the UK failed to pick up, but the FDA picked up, would you have been the first to condemn the UK? We (the public) can’t have it both ways.
LA Woman (CA)
Yes and Cuomo wants to do his own tests as well, at least that’s what he said...
@LA Woman I will take this vaccine when I can. I would advise all to do so.
Dan Stambor, MD (Seattle)
An ethical conundrum: 1. The vaccine appears to be very effective, thanks to the participants in the trial, including those who received the placebo, some of whom became ill, and perhaps died 2. The vaccine appears, preliminarily, to be safe, though longer term safety (as well as efficacy) is not certain 3. Essentially everyone is being encouraged to get the vaccine when it becomes available, BUT: 4. Those who participated in the study, those who took the risks to help the rest us, and then received the placebo, are being asked NOT to take the vaccine so that more long-term data can be collected to determine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine down the road 5. Where is the line between science and the fair distribution of a life-saving treatment? In many studies of other treatments, once a clear benefit of the treatment is seen, the study is ended early and the placebo recipients are given the treatment 6. So: Should the placebo recipients go to the front of the vaccine line, wait their turn like the rest of us, or continue to be at risk for Covid-19 despite their willingness to sacrifice their own health (and possibly lives) so that the rest of us can be safe(r)? 7. I do not see a simple answer 8. I would love for the NYT Ethicist to give us his views about this
citybumpkin (Earth)
@Dan Stambor, MD Aren’t those vaccine recipients volunteers? And aren’t they being “asked?” It would be something else if they are being denied against their wishes...
Fourteen14 (Boston)
@Dan Stambor, MD We need the placebo group to continue on, for the good of science and the good of us all. We don't want to repeat the mistakes from past experimental vaccines. There have been several experimental vaccines hastily rushed to market following the WHO’s pandemic declaration, one of which resulted in thousands of European children and teens developing chronic narcolepsy and cataplexy. In 2011, the ASO3-adjuvanted swine flu vaccine Pandemrix (used in Europe but not in the U.S. during 2009-2010) was causally linked to childhood narcolepsy, which had abruptly skyrocketed in several countries. Children and teens in Finland, the U.K. and Sweden were among the hardest hit. Further analyses also discerned a rise in narcolepsy among adults who received the vaccine, although the link wasn’t as obvious as that in children and adolescents. A 2019 study reported finding a “novel association between Pandemrix-associated narcolepsy and the non-coding RNA gene GDNF-AS1” — a gene thought to regulate the production of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor or GDNF, a protein that plays an important role in neuronal survival. They also confirmed a strong association between vaccine-induced narcolepsy and a certain haplotype, suggesting “variation in genes related to immunity and neuronal survival may interact to increase susceptibility to Pandemrix-induced narcolepsy in certain individuals.” The placebo group has a duty to soldier on - isn't that what you'd do?
Berkeley Bee (Olympia, WA)
I don't think any of these vaccines act like, say, the MMR or even a flu vaccine. We all out here are expecting it to work with the same efficacy. Let's not. Yet. Because * We don't know yet how long "immunity" lasts for sure. * We have been told it likely will *blunt* the virus if we contract it. So even for the next year, even with a vaccine in our bodies, it's essential to keep wearing a mask and keeping 6 feet of distance while out of the house, wash hands well and do it a lot, and actually, mostly, just stay home. No, no vacations. Yet. No "back to 2019 normal." Probably ever.
Suoerma (GR)
They said that the Moderna one last 8 months. So every 8 months we need a jab. Not only that, but it only decreases symptoms. To me that means there will just be more asymptomatic people out there. If this is the case, it will be a tragedy.
Abbott Hall (Westfield, NJ)
@Suoerma Vaccine responders will have memory T cells which will respond and expand greatly when those people are challenged by an antigen that is similar to the protein which this vaccine produces. This is what happens in all immune responses.
diderot (portland or)
The logistical problems associated with a vaccine that requires storage at ultracold temperatures (-70 deg.) will limit its usefulness both in the US and in the rest of the world. I would be very surprised if this vaccine immunizes more than 20-30 million Americans and more than a small fraction of the world's population. Furthermore, the cost of manufacture and distribution will make this an expensive vaccine compared with several others on the horizon. There is also no evidence that the Pfizer vaccine will "kill" COVID and thereby prevents transmission from the vaccinated to uninfected individuals. Furthermore, as pointed out in the article, the durability of the vaccine is unknown. The side effects after the second shot seem troubling. Personally, I await the vaccine developed by Novavax, using a more traditional methodology that has been thoroughly tested against Influenza. It should be available here by late spring or early summer.
NW (Washington)
@diderot. Does the world have this luxury? While you wait for some as yet unattained vaccine perfection, for your favored vaccine that has yet to even enter phase 3 trials, hundreds of thousands of more will die.
Suoerma (GR)
I read that the side effects included suicidal tendencies. There are 9000 volunteers who didn't go back for their required second jab. Questions remain, were they too ill to go get their second jab?
diderot (portland or)
@NW The world would need about 5 to 10 billion doses of the Pfizer vaccine to develop herd immunity. Americans will wait a long time for the Pfizer vaccine if it is the only one. At least 3-4 vaccines will be needed to control COVID and, indeed it is very likely that hundreds of thousands will die here before any vaccine is widely distributed. NVAX has phase 3 trials underway in GB and the results will likely be available in a couple of months. If the results are positive, it will be approved here.
Ski bum (Colorado)
Truly great news for humanity and recovery from the virus that trump allowed to spread unabated for 9 months. trump will of course claim credit for the success but it is all the scientists and medical personnel that are the true hero’s in this outcome. why trump refused to buy additional doses will forever remain an enigma; though I suspect trump’s motivation lies deep in his psyche and his need to be all powerful.
As much as wanting to be seen as powerful, it is his true self to do do harm to others when/wherever possible. A born bully.
Abbott Hall (Westfield, NJ)
@Ski bum If you could stop hating Trump for a minute you might consider whether or not a Biden administration could have delivered a vaccine in this time frame. I seriously doubt that they would have or that the infection rate would have been much different if Biden had been in office.
Jay (Rhode Island)
Biden Administration should pay everyone who gets the vaccine $25. That would encourage compliance.
Martín Dyer (Santa Monica)
I’d simply like to pose a question. COVID has infected black and Hispanic and native Americans more than Caucasians. Could it be because all three are on the lower side of the economic structure, and not because of their “race?” I voted for Biden.
I agree that economic status is the greatest cause for differences in achievements. But the inherent racism that persists, and has been given full reign during this administration, has normalized it to a disturbing degree.
Jim Crowell (Canada)
@Martín Dyer Your thesis is correct. Poor people are the ones who live in more crowded conditions, are forced to take crowded public transport, and more often work in jobs where they must be out among people (food store cashers, home care workers, hospital cleaners, etc.) -- all of which limit the ability to socially distance -- and thus increase their vulnerability to Covid.
DaveD (Wisconsin)
@Martín Dyer In addition race, if it exists at all, cannot be measured.
JpbinBhm (Birmingham, Alabama)
The delay by the FDA in getting this available to the public comes from Democratic political pressure to prevent the Trump administration from deriving any credit. Mayor Cuomo's recent tirade on this is an excellent example of how this pressure is exerted indirectly. I am sure there is much more happening behind the scenes that have fed the beast of this federal bureaucracy into ramped up slow down mode. All done in the name of "safety" it is nonsensical political manipulation. This is indefensible and is ethically egregious. Deaths at this point are particularly tragic as at least 2 highly effective vaccines are immediately at hand. The UK has shown us up handily and the forces behind the slow down here should be utterly ashamed.
CPO,USN(Ret.) (Quiet Corner CT)
@JpbinBhm "Democratic political pressure" has NOTHING to do with approval timelines in the FDA. It's insane some Americans actually believe these Russia's dizinformatzia campaigns, which the GOP seems to be just fine with.
Liz (Seattle)
There is no slowdown here-- the development of these vaccines has been light years faster than the normal process. One reason the UK approved this vaccine a little faster than the FDA is because FDA does its own analysis of the raw data submitted by the sponsor company, while other countries like the UK rely more on the analysis that the sponsor company performed. But even then this FDA analysis and decision have happened insanely fast given the amount of safety and efficacy data they are wading through.
MartinJ (Queens, NY)
Your conspiracy about the Democrats must include the entire western world! Apart from unproven vaccines in China and Russia, the first vaccine shot for Covid in the west was administered today in the UK. Today being December 8. And that's based on the drug companies' outcomes alone. We are right behind with CDC and FDA approval required. You also probably believe after China, the Democrats spread Covid around the world, to upend Trump, who dismisses masks and social distancing anyway.
Blackmamba (Il)
Yes but does the Pfizer vaccine prevent asymptomatic contagious COVID-19 spread? How long does the Pfizer vaccine safely and effectively produce antibodies? How does the Pfizer vaccine compare to having and surviving a COVID-19 infection? How does the Pfizer's vaccine super cold storage and big batch manufacturing technique limit it's distribution and use in 3rd world and tropical countries? How does the necessity of two shots limit Pfizer vaccine timely usefulness?
Subscriber (U.S.)
Unfortunately, one of the many ill effects of Trump’s ignominious administration is that even smart, careful, well-educated people like me find ourselves questioning whether and how much to trust the word of any department or agency headed by a Trump appointee. (Before you completely dismiss this problem, consider, as just one example, that the chief of the National Weather Service/NOAA cowed to pressure from Trump et al when providing information about a major hurricane.) I’m NOT suggesting avoiding the vaccine; only noting that the fact that even reasonably well-informed people now reflexively pause extra long before believing/trusting our national science agencies is deeply troubling. Thank goodness the Trumpists soon will be gone from senior offices; let’s hope Biden and his team can restore some of the trust that Mr. Trump and the governments of Russia and other hostile countries did/aimed to sully and break.
Patriot (USA)
@Subscriber Agree. The U.S. far-right seems aligned (allied) with Russia — they even wore t-shirts announcing it — and other enemies of democracy. The treasonous Turner Diaries, the pernicious forgery that is The Protocolos of Elders of Zion, the legacies of the KKK and the militia-mind of the 1980s now find new paths into American psyches and streets through “Q-Anon” and almost certainly with the help of Russian, Chinese, North Korean, Iranian and other governments that aim to weaken and perhaps then plunder our as yet still United States of America. Resist!
MadCityAl (Madison WI)
"“Taking a day off after the second dose is a good thing to anticipate,” Dr. Iwasaki said." And no doubt it is. But will employers recognize the importance of giving their workers the paid time off they need to motivate them to take the vaccine as well as the needed time to recover? If we use US Labor history as our guide, then sadly no.
Gerry O'Brien (Ottawa, Canada)
Noah Weiland and Carl Zimmer: Your article notes: "The Food and Drug Administration’s first analysis of the clinical trial data also found that the coronavirus vaccine worked well regardless of a volunteer’s race, weight or age." Question: Will the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech, and by other companies, work on very young children? The biology of the group cited in your article of those between 16 and 55 years is different from children of 15 years and less and infants.
Jim smith (California)
By the time we get to this lower risk group all your questions will most likely be answered.
roseberry (WA)
@Gerry O'Brien The vaccines are just now being tested in children. They'll start with older children and move to younger children if it proves safe, so it'll take awhile before any Covid vaccine will be approved for children.
Nelson Schmitz (Covington WA)
I am a 72 year old male with type A positive blood type, and as far as I know, I do not have any co-morbidities other than being overweigh, joining the club of millions. Now I have learned that the vaccine being produced by Pfizer has been under-ordered by the Trump administration. I am angry beyond words and the litany of incompetence, fraud and greed of this administration over the past four years. Checking out the NYT profile, my wife and I will probably have to wait for six more months to become fully safe. Although I understand the rationale for first responders and front line workers, grocery workers, etc., the proportion of life for those who have retired and are sitting at home, afraid of re-entering the workplace just to have something to do, is an important issue as well. I wish there would be some more equitable solution for us seniors as we have less time than most to remain on this planet once immunized.
Barbara (Rust Belt)
@Nelson Schmitz Trump also purchased the same amount from Moderna (which is likely to be along shortly), Astra Zeneca, J&J and others. Still, it would be very nice to have that extra batch right now!
Judy (NY)
@Nelson Schmitz Sneak into Canada where they ordered enough to vaccinate everyone 10 times over and beg the Canadians?
roseberry (WA)
There's a review article about mRNA vaccines at It says vaccine designers have more control over immunogenicity with them than with other vaccine technology so it's not all that surprising that they're proving so effective. Scientists are working to make them usable against cancer, which would be much more profitable of course.
Mike G (Big Sky, MT)
Trump lies about turning down more Pfizer vaccine (probably because Pfizer wasn’t in “his” warp speed program). We know Pfizer’s version is true. For Pfizer to lie about this would violate federal laws, e.g., securities disclosure laws. For some reason, Trump’s lies don’t violate federal law.
Radek (Portland, Oregon)
"Pfizer’s Vaccine Offers Strong Protection After First Dose" Do the data really support this claim though? Why is Pfizer still basing the efficacy claims on self reporting of symptom reduction among the volunteers in the mRNA vaccine vs. placebo arm--an especially weak standard given that almost none in the placebo arm had serious illness? The claim of "strong protection" seems to be based on reduction of symptoms in the vaccinated group vs. control, but both groups had mild COVID symptoms, so it's essentially just a claimed shift from "mild to milder" without having a situation comparable to community spread. And why is Pfizer (and Moderna) still not swabbing or doing measurements of viral mRNA, the way Astra-Zeneca and most other trials are doing? Would this not be a more convincing and quantitative way to demonstrate virus reduction? If it's not clear that the vaccine is actually reducing viral levels (and thus person to person spread), how can we formulate recommendations for giving the vaccine for lesser-risk groups (who rarely get severe illness even if COVID positive)? Would it make sense to give it to people who've had COVID before, or is there a risk of antibody dependent enhancement? All of us are heavily data-minded scientists and engineers, and we're having a hard time matching the claims to the data itself. Given how horribly COVID-19 is spreading we're not ruling out taking a vaccine, but the Pfizer trials seems to be lackluster at best in their rigor.
Eliz92 (Virginia)
They are? Participants are PCR and antibody tested throughout the study. I was in it. The data show reductions in incident confirmed cases.
boji3 (new york)
Nobody turned down extra doses of Pfizer for any nefarious reasons or incompetence. The administration knew there were three or four candidates and astutely did not want to 'bet the house' on any one vaccine. That was the smart thing to do, to spread out the risk. This fact was echoed by Scott Gottlieb today on the cable shows.
Concerned (Brookline, MA)
What risk? Would the government have been compelled to buy the vaccine if it wasn’t efficacious? Seems like the risk of holding un-exercised stock options.
boji3 (new york)
@Concerned yes, they may have been obligated- who is to say whether a vaccine which is borderline effective compels to buy it. And yes, it is like buying stocks- the administration did the right thing by 'buying a basket' like an ETF instead of one stock. all the best
Guy (Chicago)
Too bad the president sold our share to Putin or whoever paid the highest price. Very strange also that England is already going full tilt while here in Operation Warp Speed-Land we’d be lucky to see anything actually happen before next June. Maybe trump is right, maybe we are a third world country.
Eric (California)
If one dose gives you 50% efficacy, and two doses spread weeks apart take you to 95%, is public health better served vaccinating twice as many people in a shorter time frame with the 50% effect?
Scott Fordin (NH USA)
@Eric: That’s an interesting question. I don’t claim to know the answer, but from what I’ve read, my understanding is that the second dose must be administered just a few weeks after the first. For example, I don’t think you could administer the first dose to “twice as many people,” and then deliver the second dose to those same people, say, six months later. Again, I could be wrong.
Ignaz Semmelweis (New York)
The cases of Bell's palsy are concerning. As noted recently in the NYT, the mRNA vaccines result in expression of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein on the surface of transfected cells. Two recent published papers (Buchrieser et al 2020 and Cattin-Ortola et al 2020) reported that SARS-CoV-2-infected cells express spike protein on the outer surface of the cell membrane, which can result in fusion with adjacent cells in cell culture. Postmortem, lungs of patients dying of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) are found to contain multinucleate syncytia, presumed the result of spike protein-mediated fusion events. My concern is that immune-mediated reactions to spike protein on the surface of cells might be a cause of neurological symptoms like Bell's palsy as well as the more serious Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS, progressive paralysis). GBS has been rarely reported following COVID-19, as well as other viral infections. Another concern is "long-haul" COVID-19 symptoms, many of which are neurological or neurological-adjacent: muscle and joint pain, difficulty thinking (brain fog), sleep disturbance, heartbeat disturbances. These are similar symptoms to ME/CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), which is also thought to be a post-viral syndrome. Any EUA approval by FDA should require active surveillance for long-haul COVID-19 symptoms following vaccination, as well as for neurological or other symptoms that significantly affect quality of life and activities of daily living.
Mark (Baltimore)
The spike protein is not on the cells- it’s on the virus. The vaccine will only have the spike epitopes , not the entire virus, and therefore it couldn’t possibly be infectious. The rare case of GBS has been an issue with other vaccines also, and I suspect it has to do possibly with excipients or preservatives.
Ignaz Semmelweis (New York)
@Mark See the recent article in the NYT: , How the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Works. Spike protein is definitely expressed on the surface of transfected cells after vaccination.
Barbara (Rust Belt)
@Ignaz Semmelweis There is a possibility that the vaccine may interfere with the formation of sincytin which is critical in the formation of the human (and other mammalian) placenta. This possibility really should be ruled out as soon as possible.
Betty (Pennsylvania)
I have an image in my head, people emerging from their houses and hugging each other, like in those catastrophe movies, after the monster is defeated.. I know , I know, but let me have my dream..
James (Savannah)
This is the inevitable outcome of electing a failed businessman with no experience or interest in public service as President. Not only is such a person useless in dire international emergency, but so are the people he chooses to fill other key governmental positions that our citizens depend on for such a life or death issue. But the stock market!
Jeffrey Gillespie (Portland, Oregon)
I really think that the Trump Administration turning down more doses of the vaccine when offered is tantamount to criminal negligence and a crime against the American people and should be prosecuted as such.
This good news indeed, but for most people in the US, don’t expect to get this vaccine anytime soon. As reported in the NYT the Trump administration turned down the opportunity to purchase additional doses earlier this year and now we get to the back of the line. Another miss by the current administration.
Rich r (Denver)
How ironic. Throughout all the rhetoric of “America First’, we take third place, to England and Russia, on getting our citizens vaccinated. One of the most stark and stunning examples of just how far the US has regressed its standing on the international platform. While our president was pre-occupied with 30 more miles of southern border Wall, or leveraging Ukraine into digging up dirt on his political rivals, others were out there jumping ahead of us on vaccine distribution logistics and distribution... stuff that really mattered.
John Pilot (NY)
Hey what happened to Cuomo and Newsom stating they wanted to do their own tests?
Reader (CA)
Newsom, once someone I respected, ate his at the French Laundry restaurant, an establishment I will no longer recommend or patronize.
Nina (Vancouver, BC)
The finding that four people after receiving vaccine developed partial paralysis of the face (Bell’s Palsey) was quickly glossed over. It is a small minority compared to larger test group but still very significant Any side effect as serious as this should be further elaborated on without being concerned that it will demotivate people to take the vaccine. Bell’s Palsey is serious and for some it never completely goes away.
Nightwood (MI)
@Nina It's now a serious concern for me. I had Bell's Palsey when i was 18. The side affects stayed with me the rest of my life although they have lessened some what. I have long passed eighty. Am i more likely to get BP again when vaccinated or less likely?
Bill Kowalski (St. Louis)
At first, when I heard the name "Operation Warp Speed", I thought naming an important science initiative after an implausible science fiction plot device was a bad sign. If it had been named Operation Yoda or Operation Flux Capacitor, the name would have been no less credible. Thinking back, I recalled the ATF's "Operation Fast and Furious", another unfortunately named government program which flopped in spite of how well Vin Diesel's movies do at the box office. It raised concerns the possibility of results from Warp Speed was similarly a fantasy. I mean, we all like Star Trek, but it's fiction. Spock can read minds, plus he's previously died and came back to life, and then later traveled through time to meet his younger self, for Pete's sake. So it was reassuring to know Pfizer developed their vaccine without any assistance from Operation Warp Speed. My faith in scientific reality is confirmed. Thanks, Pfizer, for staying out of the realm of science fiction and focusing on effective scientific research where you can do the most good.
blgreenie (Lawrenceville NJ)
So how will it be made available to patients? The most worrisome statement I saw came yesterday from a Trump official who said that President Trump has a plan for that although it wasn't revealed. I can't imagine Trump having a plan for the welfare of others will be effective. I'm fearful that even with a good vaccine, chaos awaits us, courtesy of Trump, when it comes time to provide it to patients.
LA Woman (CA)
What happened to the NY and CA Governor “independent studies”?
Rita Gardner (Andover, MA)
What is also impressive is that the mRNA technology may address other illnesses that have been unable to treat. The speed of this vaccine had much to do with the influx of money into Pharmaceuticals R&D. Pharmaceutical companies were not held back by business decisions of whether not to go to the next phase of the trial due to financial risk. They were able to proceed through trials due to the availability of financial resources AND how quickly COVID-19 cases were occurring. Sometimes trials are extended because of the lack of the occurrence of disease that is being studied, in COVID the surges have quickly demonstrated the efficacy of the vaccine, as the cases are so numerous. It certainly it makes one think what could be done if we prioritized the US public health as we do other priorities.
Elizabeth (Athens, Ga.)
This morning Virginia Fox, Rep. N.C., expressed her wonder at the US initiative at creating this vaccine. It's my understanding that Pfizer is a foreign company - Belgian? I guess when we buy it it becomes our? She is right that is is great the vaccine has been created and tested so quickly. I wonder if Trump is going to allow the Blue States to have any.
The Dude (Bay Area)
@Elizabeth Pfizer is a US company based in New York. Yes, when companies work in partnership with the government great things can be done. Most medicines are discovered in the academic setting (funded by government), then developed by industry. Most of our technological advances including the iPhone all have their basic science work financed by the government.
Elizabeth (Athens, Ga.)
@The Dude Thanks for correcting me. Pfizer seems to work with pharmaceutical scientists all over the world, as do so many today. I worked for a group of Patent Attorneys a long time ago and noted then that many pharmaceuticals were getting patents in Switzerland and Germany.
Barbara Pines (Germany)
@Elizabeth Pfizer is an American company but the R&D that developed the vaccine was largely the work of the small German company BioNTech. The founders of BioNTech (Dr. Sahin and Dr. Tureci, a husband-and-wife team) realized that they would be best off collaborating with a larger company that was better equipped for large-scale testing and more experienced in distribution and approached Pfizer about a collaboration. The NYT podcast series "Sway" featured an interview in English with Sahin and Tureci.
Reader (CA)
You mention age, race, weight. But did they test it on young children (and if so, what are the ethics around that?), who differ tremendously from adults in weight, not just age?
Matt F (Newark, NJ)
It's only been fully tested on adults. I believe they have started testing on kids, but it only stands to be approved for adults as of now.
Reader (CA)
Thanks, @Mark. Important information. Part of my point was that The New York Times reporters & editors, who may consider themselves to have reached the pinnacle of professional journalism, ought be much more accurate when reporting and when crafting headlines. Particularly when they publish articles as important as this one.
Rita Gardner (Andover, MA)
@Reader trials in ages as low as 12 are starting now. I believe still no pregnant women in any trials.
Cherie (Tacoma, WA)
I literally can't wait to get this vaccine, even after hearing about the potential side effects. They sound very similar to what my husband and I experienced when we got the newer, two-dose shingles vaccine last year. We both had quite a bit of arm pain both times and then fever, chills, aches, and fatigue for a day after one of the doses (curiously, his worst symptoms followed the first dose; mine followed the second). While it didn't make for fun times, our pharmacist had assured us it meant the vaccine was doing a good job of quickly ramping up our immune response. I would take a day of feeling poorly over an actual case of shingles (or COVID) any time!
Michael Tyndall (San Francisco)
We’re seeing the power of a well designed randomized controlled trial. It helps immensely that the new mRNA vaccines appear to be quite effective, and, unfortunately, that we have way too much coronavirus in communities around the world. Studies with tens of thousands of participants, each person monitored for at least two months, should have revealed the vast majority of common side effects and adverse reactions. Any group that large will have stuff happen, and it’s important to look statistically to see if any differences between treatment and placebo groups are significant. Four cases of Bell’s palsy were seen in the treatment group, but ‘The difference between the two groups wasn’t meaningful, and the rate in the vaccinated group was not significantly higher than in the general population.’ That bears watching and will be a standard part of the post-approval vaccine monitoring program in the US. There’s still the possibility of rare but serious adverse reactions that occur one in a hundred thousand or a million cases, but these rare events have to be balanced against the much higher risk of serious illness with the virus. Even seat belts occasionally cause injury or death. All in all, it appears to be good news. I’ve always felt a day or so of minor side effects are a sign the vaccine is working to stimulate your immune system. I don’t mind that in the least, not when compared to the disease.
Mark (Los Angeles, CA)
I wonder how data shook out for Asian trial participants. The article only mentions (very exciting numbers for) efficacy in White, Black, and Latino participants.
Mama (CA)
And it omitted First Nations people, too, who were decimated by foreign contagions brought by Europeans, and are suffering greatly from high Covid-19 infection rates (compounded and perhaps partly caused by centuries of discrimination).
BrazosBard (Texas)
It doesn't take Courage, it takes Common Sense. If you could have prevented the 3,000 deaths in America on 9/11/2001 simply by wearing a magic mask, would you have done that? Did you wear a mask on 9/11/2020? If you did, you may have slowed the approach of 3,000 deaths in America every day by the end of this year. If everyone wears a mask, not only will we prevent a "9-11" occurring every day, we will prevent a "9-11" occurring twice every single day in February, according to simple exponential math. Holding out for that vaccine? Start wearing the magic mask today and you may be around for it tomorrow. Just saying....
Russell W. (California)
One can only hope the FDA will approve the Pfizer vaccine on December 10. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA Commissioner, appeared on Face The Nation on December 6 and criticized the FDA’s slow pace in vaccine approval.
heyomania (pa)
The Vaccine Protocol Hey Tony Fauci, good thinking we know To vaccinate old heads to see if they go, If they get side effects, they shiver and shake, Get the high fevers so hot they will bake, See if they pop off, they’re old heads, it’s time For someone to go first, make Pfizer shine; Young peeps (like me) will watch how they do, Sign up for vaccines and stand on a que If they survive absent nary a glitch Or go under quick as a good fastball pitch; Side effects too, say they stroke out at dawn (Not playing golf), but just dead and gone; Or paralysis strikes, no biggie for them, They’re shut-in, no biggie, let Fauci say when It’s safe for the young to shoot up two doses No strokes, none at all, and no thrombosis.
Russell W. (California)
One can only hope that the FDA will approve Pfizer’s vaccine on December 10. Dr. Scott
Cephalus (Vancouver)
Commenting as an epidemiologist, Pfizer/BioNtech's vaccine is highly effective, which is terrific news. Alas, the vaccine is extraordinarily expensive to buy, and even more so to ship and to store. It's very difficult to distribute and use, requiring exquisitely complex supply chains and special training for personnel. It's thus a very poor candidate for mass vaccinations. Meanwhile, we've now learned AstraZeneca misrepresented its trial findings -- the only number any reputable scientist would be prepared to back is the very poor 62% effectiveness, not the 90+% or even the "better than 70%" claimed by the company. This means the vaccine should not be, and would not be, approved under anything like normal circumstances. So it's relatively cheap, relatively easy to ship and administer, but pretty useless. We have yet to know the finer details of other candidates, but we do know the jubilation about effective vaccines ready for big immunization programs is much misplaced. Finally, we all must remember something close to 80% of adults need to get vaccinated with a vaccine of over 85% effectiveness to stop the epidemic. At the moment, we'd be lucky -- even with a good vaccine readily available for free -- to get 50% of adults to roll up their sleeves, not once, but twice, to get properly immunized. In short, we're a very long way from reining in the COVID-19 pandemic. May 2021, however, should bring naturally some relief in disease incidence; till then, masks & distancing.
Bill (Lower East Side)
@Cephalus if current rates of new infection in this country continue- (200k/day tested and reported so real number prob at least a million, maybe 2 million)-which of course we hope then don’t, you’ll have widespread natural immunity in the population already by spring to slow it down anyways.
D. Renner (Oregon)
It is recommended that it is a two doses to get to 95%. One dose is only 50% according to the article. We don't want people thinking they are good and not showing for their second dose. This headline is dangerous.
Ron A (NJ)
@D. Renner The FDA's minimum efficacy for vaccine approval is 50% which is higher than the typical flu vaccine.
Uwe (Giessen)
This is not "Pfizer's vaccine". The vaccine was developed by BioNTech alone. The development and availability of the vaccine was announced by BioNTech in January 2020. Collaboration (licence to produce, sell and test in clinical trial) with Pfizer was announced in April 2020.
blgreenie (Lawrenceville NJ)
@Uwe Pfizer is an American company. In America, there would be huge resistance to taking a vaccine that wasn't American even if it would save lives. Also Americans want a product made by a company whose name they've heard of. After all that, large numbers of Americans insist that they won't take a vaccine, American or not. A nation in decline.
baba (ganoush)
NY Times today: "The ( U.S. )government was in July given the option to request 100 million to 500 million additional doses. But despite repeated warnings from Pfizer officials that demand could vastly outstrip supply and amid urges to pre-order more doses, the Trump administration turned down the offer, according to several people familiar with the discussions." Why would the offer be turned down? How does this make sense ?
Michelle (Richmond)
@baba I want to know what the plan is going forward. 100-million doses doesn't cover many people and there is no guarantee when more doses will be available. So much for all the reporting of 'regular' people getting the vax in February, etc.
RLW (Chicago)
@baba The decision was made by Trump administration appointees. Their job is to do what they think will LOOK best for Donald Trump as opposed to what might be best for the country.
@RLW I want to know how the initial doses will be distributed. I can’t believe that Trump’s cronies and friends won’t be first in line, those that aren’t anti-vaxxers of course.
Conrad (N.J.)
I would like to know how efficacious the vaccine is in preventing illness in the extreme elderly, (i.e. those persons who are 85 and older). What we consider to be elderly is actually divisible into at least two groups, those 65-85 and 85 and older. Some researchers have opined that vaccines in general provide lesser protection in those who need it the most, (i.e. those with significant preexisting health concerns and those of 85 and up. These are people who are generally believed to have a more limited ability to mount an immune response when challenged with a vaccine. Knowing the efficacy of and the severity and frequency of side effects of the vaccine in this group may further inform the decisions as to who gets priority in the queue.
Thomas (Germany)
I do hope (and see a good chance) that the European Union will be open for discussion regarding the distribution of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. It closed purchase contracts with most of the prospective vaccine producers and it'll take some time to set up the neccessary infrastructure for the uninterrupted cool chains needed. Politically, it'd be a good opportunity to strengthen the Biden government in an early stage, to send signs of solidarity to the american people as an alternative draft to trumpism and to come back to normalcy in terms of international cooperation quickly. An overwhelming majority of the EU population is pretty much relieved that the Trump presidency expires and hopes the political style of the US will turn into a more constructive one again. Therefore, it might be not that unpopular under EU citizens. However, I'm worried that Mr. Trump will throw his weight around this issue in his last days for his personal motives again, smashing some more political porcelain. Whenever I thought this presidency couldn't get worse - it did.
Phyliss Dalmatian (Wichita, Kansas)
This is excellent news. After my elderly Parents receive their second dose, we will visit them. For the first time since last Christmas, and driving to Florida. Hallelujah. In the meantime, please act responsibly. Stay home, when you can. Wear a mask, when out of your home. It’s not rocket science, it’s common sense and caring about others. It will be at least six months after the first Vaccinations are distributed until we even approach containment. So, the end is in sight, but don’t be complacent or foolish. Cheers. And a safe, thoughtful Holiday Season.
magicisnotreal (earth)
What exactly does "fully tested" mean in the article about Astra Zeneca vaccine in Britain?
CJ (San Diego, CA)
What does Gov. Cuomo’s own vaccine panel think? Hopefully it is up and running already and will give an independent view of the raw data.
Lee Rose (Buffalo, NY)
When can we, the American people, read the scientific data for ourselves? I feel certain they don't use words like almost and nearly as. Let us see the numbers for ourselves.
Ruth Marcus (MA)
I read the Briefing Document posted by the FDA. There is a misunderstanding in the media about the source of the information. The document was prepared by Pfizer/BioNTech and the conclusions, based on the data presented, are that the vaccine is safe and effective. This is NOT the FDA's interpretation. It is that of the study drug sponsors. It will be interesting to see/hear the VRBPAC Committee meeting later in the week when we will begin to learn the Agency's perspective.
AKJersey (New Jersey)
This is encouraging news about the Pfizer vaccine. But this is NOT a cure for COVID. Several hundred thousand Americans will die in the winter and spring before a large majority of the US population has been immunized. Only then will COVID die out in the US. President Biden will help convince Americans that the upcoming COVID vaccines are safe and effective, and that they are being distributed equitably to all states, to old and young, to rich and poor, and to all races and ethnic groups. Further, Biden should work with our allies in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific, to enable distribution of vaccines throughout the world, including among poor countries, to ensure that COVID-19 is defeated.
Ron A (NJ)
@AKJersey Maybe not. If we inoculate the most vulnerable first we may avoid many thousands of hospitalizations and deaths.
Judy (NY)
@AKJersey But the US is the worst afflicted nation on earth. We can only help others if we have enough for ourselves.
Cornell (new jersey)
Too bad the self-described "very stable genius" and master of the "art of the deal" rejected an opportunity to purchase even more of this very effective inoculation, which would have expeditiously protected even more Americans from this deadly disease. To date, we have lost over ninety-four times the amount of people who tragically perished on 911.
Gustav (San Francisco)
I find it interesting that BioNTech is founded and lead by a husband-wife team with roots in Turkey. They may be a German company, but are immigrants - go figure. It should be pointed out that they did not receive any funding from the U.S. in developing the vaccine as they are already billionaires and will surely be acquiring more weath in the coming years. Now the battle over intellectual property begins.
Arne (Germany)
They were funded by the EU and the german government with some hundred millions Euro.
Cornell (new jersey)
Looks a lot better than injected hand sanitizer (:
John (CT)
“This is what an A+ report card looks like for a vaccine,” said Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University: How are the following results considered an A+ report card? 1. "The agency noted that four people in the vaccinated group experienced a form of facial paralysis called Bell’s palsy, with no cases in the placebo group." 2. "many volunteers who received the vaccine felt ill in the hours after the second dose" 3. "Among those between ages 16 and 55, more than half developed fatigue, and more than half also reported headaches" 4. "Just over one-third felt chills, and 37 percent felt muscle pain." 5. "Kristen Choi, a psychiatric nurse and health services researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, published a first-person account of the symptoms she experienced as a participant in the Pfizer-BioNTech trial, which included chills, nausea, headache and fever." It appears the vaccine results in the same symptoms as Covid itself...with the added possibility of getting Bell's palsy.
Ali (Oakland)
Statistically yes, A
Lisa (New Mexico)
@John from CT I would suggest you better inform yourself regarding how vaccines work. The whole idea is to trigger protective antibodies to the virus in order to give the recipient protection from the virus itself. This often results in attenuated symptoms of the virus (like one often experiences after a flu shot) that are not life-threatening (as the mechanism of the vaccine & the dose are specifically calibrated to that end) rather than the recipient becoming ill with the virus itself and suffering its frequently life-threatening complications. So an A vaccine is one that safely triggers protection from the virus, notwithstanding some short-lived discomfort post-vaccination.
Concerned (Brookline, MA)
@John These are typical non-specific symptoms consistent with activation of the immune system, which are associated with many highly effective vaccines. They are NOT just a mild version of COVID-19, and are far, far, more benign. The Bell’s palsy cases did not occur at a higher rate than in the placebo group, meaning that they were most likely unrelated to the vaccine. Carefully following tens of thousands of people for several months, events like that are to be expected. The question is whether the rates differ between the vaccine group and the control group.
Newsbuoy (Newsbuoy Sector 12)
Have infected vaccinated subjects been re-exposed to the SARS2 virus or any other virus after the second injection? It will be interesting to watch how immune systems react to other infections.
Fourteen14 (Boston)
@Newsbuoy That's a good question. Coronaviruses are notorious for antibody-dependent enhancement. That's when a vaccine makes you far more susceptible to infection, and also makes it more deadly. Ten studies, including a recent DoD study on thousands of soldiers, found that the Flu shot makes you more susceptible to the coronavirus. The DoD Study found a 36% enhancement.
Barbara (Rust Belt)
@Fourteen14 Yes, and yet, seniors are being pushed to get the flu shot. Somehow, it sounds like our approach to viruses that thrive indoors in the winter is rather uncoordinated.
HJR (Wilmington Nc)
Not a fan of your “ lead in, title” Strong protection, 52% dose 1 versus 95% for 2. I call that modest protection for the first dose. Note the minimum standard for vaccines seemingly is 50% protection to be useful. Please change to modest not strong. The math is simple, two doses necessary results. Also would like a followup on bells palsy or reference to information. Seemingly 4 out of 22,000. But Bells no fun and apparently have it once you are more susceptible.
Wagnus DL (Cape Ann)
If humans are getting this good at dealing with illness then we are going to have to learn how to start controlling our own population even more. Good problem to have I guess but still a problem.
Ron A (NJ)
@Wagnus DL I thought of this, too. It's a worldwide problem as medical science keeps eschewing Darwinian law. Certainly, we all want to live longer but, then, to avoid straining the planet, less people need to be born.
Fourteen14 (Boston)
@Wagnus DL Excellent point people ignore. Like it or not, the unnatural protection of the weak degrades the species. This is an unfortunate side effect of mitigating the inherent dangers of the natural environment. Even wearing glasses does this. Some time in the future we will face a reckoning where our inbred weakness works against us. Could even make us extinct. Essentially what we're doing with vaccines is buying on credit and hoping those in the future will be able to pay it back. Consider the millions of deaths from the 1918 influenza. That was 19 times more fatal than this virus and the average age of death was 28, so they lost an average of 50 years of life compared to the average of 3 months lost from the coronavirus that mostly affects end-of-life oldsters. All those deaths in 1918 culled our species and we received the benefit of their sacrifice. One could say they died so that we might live.
Deirdre (New Jersey)
The Trump administration will forever be known for incompetence wrapped in malevolence with a side of self dealing, grift, and money laundering. We Americans are victims of this corrupt regime and half of us are in total denial. I hope the good people of Georgia vote in droves to prove the election was fair.
ben (boston)
I want a safe and effective vaccine, and I believe we will have one. But there is a reason it's called "emergency approval." The Times reporting on these vaccines as "fully tested" (see today's headline) is premature at best, and potentially reckless. I sincerely hope nobody is harmed in the rush. But we won't know until we know, which is regrettably not yet.
Smith Nelson (Pelham, Mass.)
Pharma companies sure cover their bases. This article states "the adverse effects could look a lot like Covid-19." Have we reached the end of rational thinking? Where is the vaccine we can take for mass hysteria, and allow us to start thinking clearly again?
Fourteen14 (Boston)
@Smith Nelson For that you need to read the data and studies directly and stop reading the media. That's the cure.
High Anxiety (Kitsap WA)
Ignore everything anyone says until January 20. Then we will get the truth. Facts. Remember them?
Colorado Reader (Denver)
Race, weight, and age were assessed for efficacy but not bio sex?
Liz (Connecticut)
@Colorado Reader it says "high efficacy rate in both men and women."
David (San Jose)
Socialized medicine gets there first. Huh.
W in the Middle (NY State)
Didn't post my earlier comment, but this just gets better and better... "...The Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots will be combined in a 'mix and match' trial to see if the 2 vaccines together produce a stronger immune response... Fauci actually got this one right, after all – as he has, for so many in the past... This isn't a too-fast rush to protect – it’s a too-fast rush to obscure... Would wager the Brits will be reporting a hybrid efficacy of 117%, for some sub-cohort, shortly... Wonder what odds the lads would give me, on a punt...
Bill (North Carolina)
Great news. Now on the the bad news. Trump passed on getting more than enough to vaccinate 50 million people. Tge plsnning and financial support for last Mike distribution has been weak to non-existent. Science requires competence behind its discoveries to make their products a reality. We used to be good at that. The Trump administration lacks basic competence. It is lucky we have a competent team coming in on January 20. Let’s hope McConnell does not decide to cripple those efforts for partisan gains. It would be so out of character for him to think country first.
Quandry (LI,NY)
Still need a lot more recipients, excluding the placebos to confirm the positive and negative effects!
N.G. Krishnan (Bangalore, India)
Dr. Ugur Sahin, and Dr. Özlem Türeci richly deserves Nobel Prize for their remarkable work to bring out a revolutionary vaccine to combat Covid 19. They undoubtedly deserve the gratitude of the entire humanity for their timely effort. Covid 19 vaccine development is remarkable and proves that every technical problem has a technical solution. We don’t need to wait for the supernatural solutions to overcome death. As elegantly put by Yuval Noah Harari in Homo Deus a “couple of geeks in a lab can do it. If traditionally death was the specialty of priests and theologians, now the engineers are taking over. We can kill the cancerous cells with chemotherapy or Nano-robots. We can exterminate the germs in the lungs with antibiotics. If the heart stops pumping, we can reinvigorate it with medicines and electric shocks – and if that doesn’t work, we can implant a new heart…for modern people death is a technical problem that we can and should solve”.
Deirdre (New Jersey)
Pfizer isn’t playing Trumps game They are going to Europe where they will show the world their vaccine works while Americans attend giant Christmas parties and Trump rallies unmasked. Americans can feel superior in the ICU that we are all saying merry Christmas and not happy holidays. Good job
Ramesh Sargam (Bengaluru, India)
Vaccine offers strong protection. That was a good news to hear. Hope soon in the coming days many gets vaccinated and avoid getting affected by the virus. Let us also hope and pray to Almighty that year 2021 begins on a good and happy note.
tmauel (Menomonie)
@Ramesh Sargam The Pfizer COVID 19 vaccine does not stop transmission of the disease and it masks symptoms potentially making the vaccinated super spreaders.
mlbex (California)
Two thoughts: First: For a long time, only part of the population will be vaccinated. In the interim, how will the unvaccinated know who to avoid and who is safe? Second: I see lots of talk about how long it will be before there are enough doses to vaccinate everyone. But there are 13 vaccinations in large-scale efficacy tests. I presume at least some of these will prove effective, but the timetables do not seem to presume that only the Pfizer and Astrazeneca vaccines will be pass the test. When the others start getting approved, the timetable will shorten dramatically.
mlbex (California)
@mlbex Oops. "The timetables seem to presume... " Please ignore the word "not" from my original sentence.
mlbex (California)
A high percentage of people experienced unpleasant symptoms after the second dose, but only for a day. The report did not say how severe those symptoms were, but unless they were really severe, they would be worth it. A day of mild symptoms in exchange for freedom to move about and not worry would be a bargain.
BigFootMN (Lost Lake, MN)
@mlbex 'Unpleasant symptoms' are what is predicted after the flu vaccine. And the suggestion that you might want to plan for a day off after this vaccine suggests it is similar. I have typically gotten a sore arm a couple days after the flu vaccine, which I would consider 'unpleasant symptoms'. But unpleasant symptoms are a lot better than 'fatal symptoms', which is a possibility at my age.
mlbex (California)
@BigFootMN I couldn't tell from the text how those symptoms compared with a flu shot, whether they were the same or worse. I'd get the vaccine even if they were worse. Like I said, one day of symptoms for an end to my COVID risk would be a bargain. I've had a number of flu shots, and the minor tenderness around the injection site was trivial. Once I had vertigo for about 5 minutes.
Ken (NYC)
But you can't "move about and not worry." There's no way to know yet whether you're still contagious, nor when your immunity might stop. Can you read?
John (Florida)
I'm not an anti-vaxxer by any stretch, but I find this report troubling. It's a little too cheerleadery for my tastes. The four vaccinated people who developed Bell's palsy, while the placebo group showed zero, should rate more than a mention in the 15th paragraph. I doubt those who got Bell's palsy would give the vaccine an "A-plus." The story says "more than half developed fatigue and other symptoms" -- what did the worst cases look like, even it's a small percentage, and how long did it take for them to recover? Did anybody in the vaccine group experience shortness of breath? After the second dose you get "a major, long-term boost." What does that mean? What's long-term? Might we have to go in for this every six months? A lot of people are going to be nervous about getting this vaccine early on, and rightly so. I understand the rush but there are a lot of unanswered questions here.
Luke (Rochester)
@John You have to do some reading between the lines to understand the Bell’s palsy phenomenon. The paragraph indicates that the number of cases in the vaccine group did not rise to the level of statistical significance. This means that the fact that there were four cases in the vaccine group and none in the placebo group cannot be attributed to the vaccine itself. In other words, the rate of Bell’s palsy in the vaccine group cannot be differentiated from the normal fluctuations in number of cases that we would see from any two randomly sampled groups of our population. - A Research Scientist
Smith Nelson (Pelham, Mass.)
@Luke Right. Statistical significance has always been the final hiding place for what is essentially bad science.
Seattle (Seattle)
And yet keep reading the very next to sentences, friend, and you will see: “the rate (of Bell’s) in the vaccinated group was not significantly higher than in the general population.” It was a study of 40k.
Frank (USA)
I'm ready to take this vaccine as soon as long term effects of the vaccine are available.
DKMD (Los Angeles)
The long term effects: you don’t get COVID-19
Andrew (Plainfield, NJ)
@Frank then you won't be taking a vaccine for at least 2 years.
tom harrison (seattle)
@Andrew - I doubt I will see a dose in the next two years. The local paper already published how the health department does not have the money or the staff to start inoculating the public even if the doses were here. The first measles vaccine was created in 1963. Every kid I ever met growing up in the 60's had measles by the 5th grade because the vaccine had not made its way to the public. Take a read about the polio vaccine and how long it took to inoculate everyone. They stopped for 2 years altogether after the Cutter Incident.
Brendan (Brooklyn)
Grateful for this good news! I wish the author would have provided a bit more context about the facial paralysis side effect though - is it temporary, mild? It doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that you only devote one sentence to.
DKMD (Los Angeles)
Bell’s palsy is a pretty common transient inflammation of the facial nerve that causes a one sided facial weakness. I think that it’s interesting that for cases occurred, all in the treatment group and none in the placebo group. That may be a bit more than a coincidence. Still, four cases among 44,000 people is consistent with what would be expected by chance in the general population 
tom harrison (seattle)
@DKMD - I know nothing about this illness but is it also possible that the stress of being a vaccine test candidate is enough to trigger this and not the vaccine itself?
mur (usa)
What I would like to know how many tested positive in the two groups or the vaccine prevents even a positivity to the infection? Saying "New coronavirus cases quickly tapered off in the vaccinated group" and not explaining if that was in regard to symptomatic diseases or only the positivity to the infection makes no sense to me.
George Foyle (SoCal)
What a great outcome for a biotech/Pharma partnership. A small biotech creates a drug to develop. Then, doing what no small company could have achieved, Pfizer develops manufacturing, a supply chain, and rapidly conducts a massive clinical program. This is a system that has worked well, beginning with the distribution and manufacturing of penicillin in WWII, and continues to benefit society. On the opposite side of this, we saw the mess when Oxford designed its own vaccine trial, now needing to be repeated. When people call for suspending IP rights (organized theft) or globally criticize the Pharmaceutical industry, this is the sort of outcome that ought to give them pause.
Gary Montgomery (florida)
@George Foyle what percent of the intellectual property does the public own?
JH (Manhattan)
@Gary Montgomery Why would the US public own any of this development? No US government money was involved, although European governments did provide funding.
Mark (Chicago)
It is a step forward that the NYT is now adding using "Pfizer and BioNTech" to name the BioNTech vaccine. I hope this is a prelude to greater reporting accuracy. Still, the next step is be to switch the order to the "BioNTech and Pfizer vaccine". Eventually reaching full accuracy with the "BioNTech vaccine" or the "BioNTech vaccine tested and manufactured with assistance from Pfizer"
Patty (East coast)
@Mark There is no pharmaceutical product without testing and manufacturing. If we followed your suggestion, most drugs would be labeled with a university name or NIH or the like. (maybe that would be good) The hundreds of millions of dollars of development and complex manufacturing are key to getting these products on the market and to patients. Otherwise they are just interesting compounds.
Mark (Chicago)
@Patty Sure, but if I say I love Kroger's Cherry Garcia ice cream, you might wonder what is going on. The point is that it it BioNTech's vaccine, period.
tom harrison (seattle)
@Mark - :)) If you tell me its Kroger's then I know it will be slightly soft ice cream since it takes them too long to put it away and it sits on the loading dock just a bit too long.
Howard (Savannah)
The UK is six months or more ahead of us because they buckled down early with advice from infectious disease experts, came up with a workable plan and are now administering it. Meanwhile we flounder along with a President full of his own martyrdom, who tried to deny the virus existed, has never had a sensible plan, arranges super spreader events, has made the WH a hotbed of covid infection and to be honest couldn't care less. We need Joe.
limbic love (New York, N.Y.)
@Howard Thanks Howard. I will add we all need to be wearing masks right now to decrease infections until we can be immunized. We should wear them because immunization takes time. We will get there , but until and even after, masks, wash hands, limit physical distance. Bravo to the U.K. Why wait to follow Mr. Biden's advice? We can do that now. Mask up people.
Tj (Usa)
@Howard agreed
Greg (Indiana)
@Howard the UK is not 6 months ahead of us.
Drusilla Hawke (Kennesaw, GA)
Yesterday we learned that last summer the trump administration had the opportunity to buy millions more doses of this same vaccine, but said no. Now it’s too late to reverse the decision because Pfizer has promised the doses to other countries. I hope the media stress this fact repeatedly and emphatically today, as trump hosts his “vaccine summit,” claims credit for the vaccines developed by actual scientists, and signs a worthless executive order saying Americans will get shots before people in other countries do. Especially where the pandemic is concerned, trump has proven himself worthless, incompetent, myopic, and deserving of the loss he was handed on November 3.
Gary Montgomery (florida)
@Drusilla Hawke Don't put all your eggs in one basket please.
Teresa H (WA)
@Gary Montgomery Ok, but if his plan was not to put all his eggs in one basket, why doesn't Trump say that? There would be no shame in admitting, because fact is, it can be a very effective strategy. Why deny the truth, retaliate against Pfizer, and sign a likely unenforceable Executive Order to supposedly require all these companies to sell to America first? Unenforceable because it would violate the contracts already signed. WH should have had enough legal knowledge and foresight to put clause in contracts that would have prevented this very issue. Reveals incompetence, inexperience, in this administration. Maybe that's why Trump is denying the truth - I think I just answered my own question.
Satire & Sarcasm (Maryland)
“Previous studies have found that the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine gives the immune system a major, long-term boost, an effect seen in many other vaccines.” “Long-term” means annual boosters? Twice a year? Once a year? None ever needed?
Pat W (Taos,NM)
I don't think the immune duration can be known yet as the first doses were administered in September. One reason, they used the mRNA technology was the possibility that the immune reaction might be much more durable than the reaction from actual infection. It looks like 6 months is the least and a year or two are not out of the question. The boosters might be very small doses, in fact, both of the COVID vaccine injections might be getting a dosage reduction as soon as some additional research is completed.
Liz (Connecticut)
@Satire & Sarcasm it's too soon to know.
Ron A (NJ)
@Satire & Sarcasm How would anybody know since the virus is novel? But, from the conjecture I read, due to the strong antibody response from the vaccine and its overwhelming efficacy, we're maybe looking at lifetime protection.
David J. Krupp (Queens, NY)
The President, Vice-President, Supreme Court, and all members of congress should be vaccinated on live TV.
Deirdre (New Jersey)
Elected republicans should be the last in the country to be vaccinated because of their war against masking. They don’t deserve it before the people do.
Gary Montgomery (florida)
@David J. Krupp With evidence it's the real thing.
Geof (NY)
@David J. Krupp Many of them are old, but essential workers?
Dan M (Massachusetts)
I wish the best to anyone who chooses to receive the vaccine. Consider that this is the first time an mRNA vaccine is being used on humans in an inoculation program. My understanding of this vaccine is that it creates proteins in the vaccinated person. What are the chances of abnormal proteins being created ? In my non-medical opinion, the worst outcome would be the possibility of a vaccine acquired Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Beth Glynn (Grove City PA)
@Dan M No. The worst outcome would be to refuse any new treatment or vaccine because we haven't used it before. The virus is novel, the treatments are novel, and the vaccine is novel. Novel does not mean fictional, it means new. Stop trying to kill other people by spreading "worst case" messages.
Ellen Offner (Newton, MA)
Thank you Pfizer for this truly miraculous vaccine. We are all looking forward to being immunized as soon as possible.
Ramonita Ortiz (Nashville,TN)
Thank You to the Turkish-German couple that developed the vaccine,not Pfizer.Every article published about the vaccine should mention BioNTech and the scientist.Although unless with time we learn the side effects,and all outcomes we can’t call this vaccine a miracle.Too much publicity regarding Pfizer and the vaccine,will scared many people based in the reputation of Pharma Companies.
Rich Mc (Ulster park,NY)
@Ramonita Ortiz what! Get real!
Sean James (California)
cience should determine who receives the vaccine first. There is a longstanding practice of identifying vulnerable groups, ranking them, and acting accordingly. Men are 60-70% of COVID-19 Deaths in the general population. Shouldn't there be more conversations about putting men at the top of the list? When it comes to Health Care Professionals, males account for over 60% of COVID-19 deaths and only for 25% of the health care workers. There is very little conversation about the number one victims of COVID-19. Men.
Gary Montgomery (florida)
@Sean James Black men in nursing homes should be first if we want to stop the deaths and open up our hospitals to normal emergencies again. God works in mysterious ways.
DaveD (Wisconsin)
@Sean James Don't know if you've noticed but those of one sex are less important than those of the other.
Sean James (California)
@Gary Montgomery Dear Gary, I could live with that. I'd love to see all men come together on this with support from women. We need to make sure all men, regardless of race, are tended to during COVID.
tc (CA)
Paints a pretty rosey picture. I could stand some good news.
ASG (San Francisco)
I also have high hopes for the one shot J&J vaccine. I'm in the clinical trial, and it protected me from Covid just 5 days after getting the vaccine (I had repeated, direct exposure to a frontline doctor family member who contracted -- and has since recovered from -- Covid). It's incredibly disappointing that Trump didn't buy more of the Pfizer vaccine, but I think we can be hopeful about the easier-to-store and administer J&J vaccine.
Theresa (PNW)
@ASG sadly we don’t know how much his administration purchased in advance of any vaccine. If he only bought the minimum of every vaccine, and the companies sold the rest of their predicted supply to other countries, it will take a long time to vaccinate everyone. Since we do not know how long immunity lasts, we could end up in a situation where people immunity is wearing out in the earliest vaccinated people before we can procure more doses. So then we end go never having a high enough population of vaccinated people at once.
Gary Montgomery (florida)
@Theresa who would have guessed, Pfizer would come first and it's probably not going to turn out to be the best.
tom harrison (seattle)
@Gary Montgomery - If we go over to the CDC and read up on vaccines (and related deaths) then we see that the first vaccine created rarely keeps getting used even just a few years later because something far better gets created to replace it. So, I would be shocked if anyone on the planet is still taking the same COVID vaccine 2 years from now. That is not to suggest anything wrong with the current ones but someone will figure out a cheaper, easier to produce, easier to distribute, etc., vaccine in the next few years.
Bill (Illinois)
Another apparent display of the worst Presidential administration this great county ever had. They turned down a chance to save lives and instead seemed to wait for a better deal. Not very smart art of the deal. Remember he failed in business and now is failing as a human being. I can't wait until they catch up to him and put him away. Lock Him UP!
Gary Montgomery (florida)
@Bill I have to bive him credit...what if Pfizer would have failed?
Judy (NY)
@Gary Montgomery We might have saved a few bucks. But we should have been clever like Canada which ordered enough vaccine to vaccinate everyone 10 times over. This way their people will have access to the best vaccines when they become available. And their economy will recover far sooner. The hit to our economy by the stupid failure to order lots of all the vaccines is at least 10,000 times as costly. And that is not even ascribing any value to saving hundreds of thousands of lives.
Caesius (LINY)
But the US wont get many doses till maybe June, due to the very smart individual in the Whine House. The brightest guy in any room should have known this vaccine would be a good one...but not this time. The US is suffering. and hes on his Whine Tour, turning his fans into faux victims. Meanwhile Americans are suffering...and he's abdicated his duty. Golfing and whining.
tom harrison (seattle)
@Caesius - The brightest guy in any room would have known back in the summer that the chances of any vaccine making it through Stage III trials was slim to begin with.
kirk (montana)
And the profits-over-lives Republicans refused to order enough of this vaccine for the US. Tells you a lot about the ignorant Republicans. They do not care about the lives of US citizens and they are ignorant of science.
Judy (NY)
@kirk They ordered enough vaccine for the high up Republicans to get it. Just like they ordered enough of the antibody cures to treat the well connected Republicans. It does not matter if everyone else dies. In fact there is a silver lining. This way they won’t have to pay out as much in Social Security and Medicare benefits.
The Poet McTeagle (California)
A strange situation. The UK suffers under a socialist system of health care, while we here in the US have the freedom to pay for a for-profit system that sends thousands into bankruptcy every year. So how did those poor socialists get the vaccine first?
AD (California)
@The Poet McTeagle Because the regulators approved it first, which has nothing to do with the healthcare distribution/economic system. Even our state wanted to do a review ON TOP of the FDAs review because they thought it would be rushed.
Jacquie (Iowa)
@The Poet McTeagle The Making America Great Again President couldn't even order enough doses when given the chance.
Robert Jenkins (Kansas City)
@The Poet McTeagle Operation Warp Speed is "socialist" (or "social-democratic"), but unfortunately it only applies to the Covid vaccine. The federal government negotiates the price with the company, and purchases large quantities for the American people, who then receive the vaccine with no out-of-pocket cost. This is similar to how Bernie's Medicare for All (M4A) plan would work, but M4A would cover most ALL medicines and medical services (possibly excepting, e.g., some cosmetic or unproven/experimental treatments), instead of just the Covid vaccine by itself.
jfech (Ventura)
With the excellent news of vaccines on the near horizon, a day is about to dawn. Thank you researchers and scientists! Thank you lab techs and volunteer test subjects! And thank you teachers who taught and inspired all of the above to do and trust science! Today we celebrate your curiosity that is the first step to discovery and your dedication to the hard work that results in a path back to normal life for all of us. A million times thank you!
JM (Washington DC)
I can’t understand why so many young Americans that I know are reluctant to take a vaccine, especially people my age (30s and younger). I perhaps can see some of their arguments about uncertainties, but in my opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry. As a high school teacher with an anemic condition, I have been struck more than once by contactable illnesses that go around schools. About 5 years ago, a bad case of pneumonia left me bedridden for a month. When my doctor suggested thereafter that I get the flu vaccine yearly and the pneumonia vaccine shot + booster, I didn’t hesitate. When the COVID vaccine is available to me, I will be in line. I definitely think our country needs to do a better job with public health campaigns, and I hope it starts anew with the Biden administration. It’s a shame Trump has politicized this virus so much. Masks, social distancing, and the vaccine will save lives.
jaye fromjersey (whiting, nj)
@JM They are reluctant to take a vaccine but okay to go to parties, not social distance and go maskless. It is primarily younger population that are spreading the virus to others because of their recklessness. But they are afraid to take the vaccine. Go figure.
Bellows (Washington DC)
@JM A lot of people are not scientifically literate and wouldn't know the results section of a paper from the abstract. When people are unwilling, or unable to consume primary source content (like peer reviewed papers) they than than rely on secondary sources. Unfortunately many of those secondary sources are biased and people tend to stick with secondary sources that confirm their existing biases. Even if the Biden campaign produces the best public health campaign of all time, how is the content of that campaign going to reach people who only consume media that has an anti-vaccine bias? That question keeps me awake at night.
Ben Balcombe (NH)
@JM Most vaccines take years to get approval and sometimes a year into a trial long term side-effects are identified. What happens if a year after this vaccine is administered people start suffering catastrophic side-effects?
Ted (Philadelphia)
I wish the media would stop using the convenient but inaccurate term “Pfizer vaccine”. This vaccine was engineered by a husband-and-wife team of Turkish immigrants working at BioNTech, a German biotech company. They are the inventers. Pfizer partnered in the development and distribution of the vaccine. What should be emphasized is that advances in medicine have become an international endeavor. A virus knows no national borders, nor does medical research. In fighting the pandemic “America alone” is a fantasy.
Karl (Florida)
@Ted The Pfizer name has a great public image and will generate confidence. The Turkish couple shoud certinly be thanked but it is best to call it what it is being called so people will not hesitate to be vaccinated.
jaye fromjersey (whiting, nj)
@Ted Pfizer probably supplied the bucks, as usual the "donors" get the recognition because they want to get a payday on their product. It is just advertisement . This is the game that is played .
Stefan (Austria)
They got money from the German government and others. They also got resources from Pfizer, but most important is that they could not produce and distribute the vaccine without Pfizer.
Ed (forest, va)
Have you ever noticed that some people have too much time on their hands so that they write "comments" that go on and on and on, missing the opportunity to inform us of their opinion because we stop reading them before they get to their point. Thanks, anyway.
Dana (San Jose, CA)
The article says that the vaccine in 95% effective in all ages ( Between 16-55 yrs), however, was it tested and deemed safe for older adults ( 65-100 yrs +)? They will be amoungst the first to receive it.
Cheryl (Midwest)
@Dana "Some vaccines for other diseases set off a weak immune response in older adults. But Pfizer and BioNTech found that people over 65 got about as much protection from the coronavirus vaccine as younger people did." from the article
Sidewalk50 (NYC)
@Cheryl Only after the second dose.
To the sharp minds and hard working men and women behind this and similarly effective vaccines, we owe a huge debt of gratitude. Vaccine development takes a lot longer and is often less effective than appears to be the case with these ones. Remarkable. Given the jail sentence we have been under to hide from covid, we should jump at the chance of a vaccine shot or two to gain our freedom. Yes, side effects of the shot may be unpleasant for hours but the alternative is really nasty.
Tim Redd (Washington, DC)
@JJ Your statement that "a vaccine shot or two to gain our freedom" gets to a point about freedom that the right wing misses when they talk about freedom. True freedom derives from doing what is necessary. In this case true freedom from COVID-19 means carrying out the necessities of masking, social distance and now taking a vaccine. This is real freedom not the faux, superficial right wing freedom of doing whatever you want whenever you want. Many great philosophers make this point in detail among them GWF Hegel and K Marx.
Seth Rosen (NY, NY)
Thank you to the incredible scientists for making this vaccine happen. You are heroes. #trustscience
srwdm (Boston)
Yes, “it means the vaccine is interacting with the body”. And sometimes that interaction is quite pronounced. It’s best to be very upfront about it and the incidences of the side effects. [The recent Shingrix vaccine for shingles for instance (with its powerful adjuvant to assist the vaccine), is notorious for side effects and patients have to be carefully warned.] A physician MD
@srwdm I agree. I took Shingrix and was mildly sick with the 1st dose, but the 2nd dose had me down for 36 hours. I knew those risks and believe it may be the same for Covid vaccine. Knowledge is powerful and fear is often the result of not knowing. So if we understand the very short term risk, why would one continue to live in fear instead of knowledge?
Drusilla Hawke (Kennesaw, GA)
Before the advent of Zostravax and Shingrix, I watched helplessly as both of my parents suffered horribly from shingles. Now a man on my street has the disease, and sometimes he moans so loudly that his neighbors can hear him. He refused to take the Shingrix vaccine because he had heard about the side effects and because he thought the two-shot protocol inconvenient. I have taken the vaccine myself and have experienced the side-effects (unpleasant, but bearable and temporary). What doctors need to emphasize is not these side-effects but the agony of shingles. My dad has deep, permanent scars on his back from his bout with it.
Beth Glynn (Grove City PA)
@JP I had shingles 3 times, the second two times after I had the original vaccine. The shingrix shot hurt a lot more and my arm was swollen for a few days (more the second shot) but if I never get shingles again, it will be worth every ache, believe me. I will get the covid vaccine when it is available to the majority of people, since I may be old, but I am healthy and can stay home if neccessary.
Nathan (Newman)
anti vaxxer? ok then i get mine sooner. your choice.
Jos Huey (Santa Fe, NM)
Many a slip twixt the cup and the lip—bags for bioreactors, bioreactors, vials, staffing, a pres who passed on more doses those complicit in his loser mania. Still so much to overcome. Genuine gratitude to the countless many many many who have and will make it possible for so many to live or live better.
srwdm (Boston)
Yes, “it means the vaccine is interacting with the body”. And sometimes that interaction is quite pronounced. It’s best to be very upfront about it and the incidences of the side effects. [The recent Shingrix vaccine for shingles for instance (with its powerful adjuvant to assist the vaccine), is notorious for side effects and patients have to be carefully warned.]
Billionaires cost too much (The red end of NY)
Is this like "masks are not necessary" which was the statement until we learned this was an meant to drive down demand until ...... we learned they did help. Is this a way to stretch the available vaccine? Is there really going to be no second dose available? I am normally not a medical skeptic but given Trump's success its hard to know who to trust. Given the politicization and scandal caused by the 'business" oriented political appointees, how can I trust this review if Biden's people weren't invited? What does "strong protection" even mean?
Lynn T Sox (Pittsburgh)
@Billionaires cost too much 52% doesn't seem very strong to me.
Add to these problems, the fact that our dear leader decline to purchase double the amount of vaccine when offered that option this summer, Pfizer can not now provide more to us since other countries took that option. Now only half the people eligible can get the required 2 doses.
Mike Shik (Sweden)
I just have a comment over the vaccine name. The actual vaccine was developed by BionTech (as I read it on NYT) and later they partnered with Pfizer to do late stage tests and finally production and distribution. I think it’s unfair that media call it Pfizer in the headlines and only mention BionTech later in the text.
fair isn’t really the point (Terra Firma)
Pfizer gets the name props because it has the resources to scale for production the innovation of a smaller organization and the channels to distribute the work product worldwide. Without a Pfizer-sized partner, the BionTech-sized laboratories of the world do the same important work but for a hobby-scale impact. Not that we aren’t grateful. Thank you, BionTech.
Jonathan (Oronoque)
@fair isn’t really the point - Back in March, the CEO of Pfizer jumped in and authorized them to spend $2 billion to get it done. Considered how little was known at the time, that was a very bold move, and it could have easily backfired on the company.
Steve C (Hunt Valley MD)
Are Trump and Giuliani really conspiring to sabotage and disrupt the vaccine distributions to states he didn't "win?" Are social media being monitored for anti-vaccine campaigns with lies as well as fake websites to mislead Americans to dead end access?
TheraP (Midwest)
While this efficacy news for the Pfizer vaccine is cause for rejoicing, the fact that only some citizens are likely to get it is cause for worry. If the Trump administration has now engineered things so multiple vaccines are going to be be administered, won’t that hugely complicate getting people to get one? Especially if it’s source and efficacy and side-effects are not uniform? Will we know ahead of time which vaccine we’re likely to receive? Will we have any voice in determining that? Will there be advance notice of differences in side effects or efficacy? In a nation that leads the world in cases and deaths, not to speak of vaccine avoiders, a multiplicity of vaccines seems like a nightmare scenario, especially given our crazy-quilt ‘system’ of healthcare delivery. This is a mind-boggling mess on top of a devastating and dangerous pandemic! I hope the Times looks deeply into theses problems.
Liz (Seattle)
Why is this an issue if all of the vaccines that make it to market are effective? There are plenty of other diseases with vaccines made by more than one company. We don't necessarily ask who made the shot we get at the doctor's office as long as our doctors have confidence in their effectiveness.
Lucille Hollander (Texas)
While I am encouraged by the good reports on the vaccines, I am concerned by the number of pictures depicting the vaccine being administered by those not wearing gloves. It would be a shame to conquer Covid only to see a spike in blood borne illnesses such as HIV.
Frank Jones (AL)
@Lucille Hollander The picture at the top of the article is of a nurse "...simulating the administration of Pfizer’s vaccine during a training session..." So, no gloves are indicated. .
Lucille Hollander (Texas)
@Frank Jones 'number of pictures'
Dsj (Canada)
@Lucille Hollander Washed hands are no worse no better than gloves. Especially if the needles and vial tops are not touched by the fingers which they are not. Gloves don’t prevent needle injury. Not sure how you would get HIV by touching someone. As a physician I still give kids vaccines glove free since I need the extra grip and agility. For adults I don’t mind gloving up - but an open box of gloves sitting on the wall is professional but not sterile.
Sidewalk50 (NYC)
How does that first dose do in the elderly population? Not too well, I suspect.
LIS (Ohio)
I believe that the data indicates the vaccine does well in the older population.
Jaco (Nevada)
Why is the FDA dragging their feet on this? Political pressure from democrats? They seem to enjoy the extra powers the virus has provided them.
Nathan (Newman)
@Jaco Why did your president refuse more vaccines from Pfizer? Political pressure from the Republicans? They seem to enjoy the extra powers the virus has provided them.
Theresa (PNW)
@Jaco what extra powers? They barely have control over any of this. If they did, things wouldn’t be such a disaster right now.
Insight (US)
I think its wonderful that the Left has now embraced the Vaccine after all these months. All of a sudden they've done a complete 180. Its so predictable.
viagalactica6 (NYC)
@Insight , If you mean. the left was waiting to hear truth about the vaccine from a real health expert ,rather than our lying president, then Yes. I take it as a compliment.
Ng Haiduck (Bronx)
When did “the left” not want a vaccine?
D. Renner (Oregon)
@Insight If only the Right would embrace masks and social distancing. So many lives could be saved between now and when the vaccine really starts making a difference.
KC (Okla)
But if I read the NYT article from yesterday correctly, after front line shots are distributed, there will be approximately 30 million double shot vaccines left for the public. Appears the masses will have more than enough time to gauge the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine. Appears the Administration did the equivalent of heading out across the desert after only putting 3 gallons of gas in a 20 gallon tank?
Scott (Scottsdale, AZ/Park City, UT)
"volunteer’s race," Are we admitting race, as a classification method, exists and differences may account for disparate vaccine immunization results? This is a touchy subject for the left. I thought race - much like gender - was a vestige of the white patriarchy, a social construct which is inherently prone to unconscious bias. This is what woke Twitter tells me everyday.
Tochter (aus Elysium)
@Scott A social construct that results in less access to nutritious food, safe places to exercise, and quality health care is likely to be reflected in disparate health outcomes.
DaveD (Wisconsin)
@Tochter Maybe. But a social construct does not generate a discrete “race.” Hence it makes no scientific sense to employ this outmoded terminology in a reputable study.
Greg (Colorado)
Just pray Trump doesn’t undercut this effort by denigrating this vaccine or any other. If it becomes politically useful he will do it in a heartbeat and it would jeopardize our future terribly.
LJ (Boston)
i bet the scientific panels for conspiracy theory and anti-vaxxer groups composed entirely of suburban facebook moms will have their review of the data out in oh... 10 months ago.
Unknown (New York)
Why is it moms? Just curious. I think moms are overall very devastated by this virus and are looking for anyway out. My baby was born in March and hasn’t been able to meet family or friends, and may not be able to have normal social development experiences for much longer. I would love to just take her to a market! Oh! And it’s mostly woman who had to leave the work force to care for their children because of covid. So... ya... let’s just continue making fun of moms.
It is very likely that the AstraZeneca and other vaccine will have lower effectiveness due to partial immunity to the carrier virus. The efficacy of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna has been a major surprise and represents a profound breakthrough in the biological sciences. There is a big differences between statistical/societal/herd immunity and individual immunity that the mRNA vaccines will give. Europe will receive 300M doses from Pfizer by Summer. The US will receive 100M because Trump didn’t buy. It could also very easily mean that US families will receive an inferior vaccine.
srwdm (Boston)
@WTM Trump should have been sidelined from having anything to do with the coronavirus pandemic many months ago. But people didn’t have the guts or courage to do it. And we are reaping the sad results.
Not necessarily inferior. Just less available so that many will have to wait 6-8 months longer their turn in line.
@PJMD The US government has already made the purchases. If you are reasonably healthy you will probably receive one of the non-mRNA vaccines. They would have been a miracle before the Pfizer/Moderna results but they will almost certainly be inferior. Enough to move us to herd immunity but not enough to protect the individual with some certainty.
Joseph (Philadelphia)
Bell's palsy in four patients in the vaccinated group? How many in the control group developed this condition? What is the clinical course of these patients? Recovering? Getting worse? What was the time interval between vaccination and the development of neurological symptoms? This should not be glossed over. Transparency is necessary for the informed consent of any treatment.
Theresa (PNW)
@Joseph it said none in the placebo group got Bells Palsy. I don’t like that this article doesn’t discuss whether the people recovered or not. I know BP is usually temporary but this does concern me.
Deborah (Buffalo, NY)
@Joseph I am also very curious as to the outcome for the individuals who developed Bell's Palsy. Having Bell's Palsy in the past I am more susceptible to getting it again. I am excited about getting this vaccine but now this concerns me.
Liz (Seattle)
Good questions to ask. But it is also important to note that these four cases were found in a sample size of 22,000 people. That's an enormous group. Chances are excellent that those four cases are coincidental. But in analyzing this, the sponsor company and the FDA would have needed to look at exactly what you asked about-- whether the BP started before or after dosing (collection of adverse event information often begins before the first dose), whether the timing was similar from person to person, whether the people would be expected to still have any of the vaccine solution in their bodies at the time of the first BP symptoms, and other questions. This is a required part of the analysis. It's a good sign that they are saying it's likely not related to the vaccine, but the fact that they mentioned it does mean they are keeping an eye on the data as they evolve
seattle expat (seattle)
The pandemic will end more quickly if the vaccine is given first to those most likely to spread the disease: people who work in health care, in close proximity to others (e.g., meat processing plants, retail work, delivery, transportation, etc.).
Ng Haiduck (Bronx)
The vaccine needs to be given first to those who are more likely to be admitted to the hospital. That means those in nursing homes and assisted living need to be vaccinated first. Otherwise hospitals will remain over burdened
Ron A (NJ)
@Ng Haiduck Maybe they can start by giving it directly to those already in the hospitals across the country with dire Covid symptoms?
@Ron A - Vaccines are preventative, not curative. If someone is in the hospital with "dire COVID symptoms", it's too late for a vaccine.
BI (Denver)
What I’m missing in today’s reporting, and hopefully there are facts to support whatever answer emerges, is how the Pfizer vaccine in going to be safely transported, distributed and administered when it requires a storage temperature of -70 degrees C? From what I understand, the infrastructure to accomplish this does not exist in this country, and certainly other countries around the globe. Any takers?
FlyinAC (Davidsonville, MD)
@BI Plenty (but not all) hospitals in the US have this type of storage capacity available. In addition, other entities such as the pharmacy chains, have been ramping up this capability over the past 5 months. I would be a lot happier IF we knew all (or even some)of the details of the plan of distribution and how the government expects to inoculate most of the citizenry. Suspicious that we have not heard these details because they may not exist.
Theresa (PNW)
@FlyinAC Biden’s team has been trying to get a firm grasp of the distribution details and they seem to be non-existent.
KC (Okla)
@BI Can I just say that the Pfizer CEO, according to what was available to read, dumped 60% of his stock the day the vaccine was announced. I hope that helps you understand.
Patricia (Ft Myers, FL)
While this news seems promising, unfortunately I can't seem to get past the fact that the FDA has certainly been tainted by political pressure, appointees, etc. I've always wondered about that agency/agents accepting money in exchange for a quick approval, and the like. The only difference now, is that it was blatantly politicized out in the open for all to see. People will say they wouldn't compromise their reputations, or authorize something if it wasn't safe. And that's just not true. They've done it before. It's too bad that the manufacturers of these vaccines have been pulled into all of this pandemonium; try as they might to stay above the fray. When all the data has been peer reviewed from scientist & doctors from around the world, and deem it safe, perhaps I'll believe it then. What a sad commentary on this country. The loss of lives, etc. For what ? Political expediency? And now we're at a point where citizens can't even trust the very entities that are supposed guide, and safeguard us from the likes of a deadly pandemic; which includes the CDC. I suspect it will take some time for people to have faith again in these agencies. God, I hope so. For the sake of this country and the rest of the world that looks to the USA for guidance. and counsel
Anne (Berlin)
@Patricia The vaccine was developed by a German company run by highly experienced researchers who then sought logistical support from Pfizer. The FDA is not the only watchdog in the neighborhood. The EU is evaluating the results; the Brits have already completed their review. If you watch the recent interview with the German couple who founded BioNTech, they don't appear to feel they've been "pulled into pandemonium." Don't project your own feelings onto others ;-) The days when the rest of the world "look[ed] to the USA for guidance and counsel" are long gone, so you don't need to worry on that front.
Anthony Simone (Peoria, IL)
@Patricia Britain seems to think it is safe.
@Anne I am a scientist (physics) who has had many good friends in other areas of science over the course of my career, including a good friend who is a prominent geneticist in Amsterdam. The European scientific community is a treasure for mankind, but I think there are few among that community that think that it compares with the US scientific community in terms of breadth and overall sophistication. Please do not judge the strength of the US scientific and medical elite based on the US political class or our popular entertainment media.
Joulupukki (Boston)
Hey, but at least we have the best healthcare. The most tremendous healthcare. Fantastic. Terrific. A big, beautiful plan the likes of which the world has never seen. Also, we have Space Force. Don't forget about Space Force.
@Joulupukki The US scientific community is truly the best in the world. Not true of our political class.
Teddy (Berlin)
@WTM The "truly best" US scientific community did not even realize wearing masks can reduce the spread of Covid at the beginning of pandemic. Bravo.
Duncan Lennox (Canada)
@Joulupukki "The most tremendous healthcare. Fantastic. Terrific. A big, beautiful plan the likes of which the world has never seen. " And it is much cheaper.
yvette5884 (tx)
The first question is will this announcement saying there's strong protection after the first does keep people from getting the second dose? The next question is how long will the first dose last without having a second dose? They're obviously must be a reason to have two doses. This information must be given to people so they go for their first dose and they go for their second dose.
KC (Okla)
@yvette5884 Between having to keep the doses so frozen and the double dosage requirement I'm definitely seeing why the CEO of Pfizer dumped 60% of his stock holdings the day the product was announced. He just rode out the rumor and sold the facts.
Sidewalk50 (NYC)
@yvette5884 And a third question is what is the protection after the first dose among the elderly?
mechteach (Texas)
@yvette5884 It's a bit buried in the middle of the article, but "the efficacy of the vaccine after the first dose is about 52 percent" (and the headline is irresponsible, imho, given this). 52% is impressive, but I would go in for a second dose to boost that to 95% any day!
Katie (Atlanta)
The second dose is said to be the one with the side effects. A nurse who was part of the clinical trials has detailed her concerning experience.
Toffer99 (London)
@Katie Side effects of the virus? Death.
yvette5884 (tx)
@Katie you can put up with some discomfort in order to not get or get your relative sick. Some discomfort for a few days is much better than that.
Theresa (PNW)
@Katie there were stories published a week or so ago about side effects and a guy said he had chills so badly he broke his tooth from shivering.
Thomas Murray (NYC)
Great news ... but, since trump refused Pfizer's offer last summer to order more than a minimal number (relative to our population) of doses, we in the U.S. of A. can expect relatively little relief (compared to our European allies -- former allies?) in the next year or more. (Too bad trump apparently based his acquisition 'strategy' on his not-so-whimsical, not-at-all knowledgeable 'gut' that Covid-19 was just going to 'disappear' on its own.)
Paul (Germany)
@Thomas Murray Even though Trump's move might not have been the smartest, I am quite certain that the US won't have any significant problems with regard to getting enough vaccines since Moderna's vaccine is nearly as ready as Pfizer/Biontech's and it seems to be as successful or even more successful. Best regards from Germany!
yvette5884 (tx)
@Paul Trump and Alex Azar have a vested interest in moderna that is why they was held the Pfizer vaccine.
FlyinAC (Davidsonville, MD)
@Paul "Trump's move might not have been the smartest" Paul is the master of understatement.
Joel egnater (savannah)
This is a remarkable achievement. I wonder how many people will be willing to take it? I know I will when given the opportunity!
Alex (Brooklyn)
The potency of conspiracy mongering is not just going to come from manageable, well-understood side effects. it is going to come from the law of large numbers. when you vaccinate 100 million people, especially older ones, some of them will die of heart disease, because some percentage of any random group of 100 million people will die of heart disease. some will die of or be diagnosed with cancer. some will have aneurysms. some will develop MS, Alzheimer's, and other degenerative neurological disorders. and it will have nothing to do with the vaccine. but if 4000 vaccinated people die of heart attacks, and it's the same 4000 that would have died of heart attacks over the same period without a vaccine, best believe they know someone who is a loud vaccine conspiracy superspreader and that death will be the sort of truth-based lie that makes for an information superspreading event. the job of every medical professional, public health communicator, and journalist with any credibility on the subject must be to inoculate the public against predictable misinformation with some clear introduction to basic statistical, scientific, and medical principles. we can no longer live in a world where it's OK for the public to be ignorant as long as doctors know what they're doing. doctors more than ever have to be communicators for their job to be effective. lab scientists have given us a vaccine with 95 pct effectiveness. they've done their job. we need 95 pct adoption too.
Ignaz Semmelweis (New York)
@Alex The reason these Phase 3 studies have a control group is to allow a comparison between adverse events in the placebo group and the same (or similar organ class) adverse events in the vaccine group. For instance, in this study FDA somehow is not bothered that 4 people in the vaccine group got Bell's palsy compared to none in the placebo group. If the true rate were identical in the two groups (4, similar to the general population), then there would be a 1/16th chance of there being none in the placebo group (approximately). This is not a 1/20 chance for "statistical significance", but to me it is still worrisome. What about the adverse events that have no name or recognition, like "long-haul" COVID-19?
Duncan Lennox (Canada)
@Alex The fact that in 7 separate Gallup polls of US adults over the last 27 yrs found , on average , that 45% said that the earth is less than 10,000 yrs old & that Evolution did not happen doesn`t auger well for logic. -46% Americans Believe In Creationism According To Gallup Poll
Colleen Mc (Boston, MA)
@Alex and now they have to give physicians time to actually speak with people. Our health care system will be waiting for that even longer than it will be waiting for the vaccine. It is quite sad.
MIMA (heartsny)
So we who have isolated ourselves for many months, to keep safe, lost jobs, lost salary, lost loved ones, watched our healthcare staff family members lay their lives on the line, will continue to wait in isolation, more months for a vaccine. All the while, the Trumps who were infected, probably infected many others, scoffed at COVID, will be flitting around happily. And Trump and his cronies could have even given this country more doses and passed it up!
Laurence Bachmann (New York)
@MIMA Trumps are a symptom of what's wrong with America. They are not the cause. When Trump is gone (hurry January, 20!) all of the crazies will still be there--the vac deniers, the Newsmax weirdos and the conspiracy theorists, the domestic terrorists. They are 70 million strong. At least.
Ron A (NJ)
@MIMA Not so great for the Trumps, either, as they mostly all got Covid.
Amy Gdala (Toronto)
Proper, informative and clear communication surrounding vaccines has been atrocious over the past decade. Unfortunately the current environment in the general population is far from ideal to receive a vaccine that comes with the baggage of seemingly being pushed out too soon. This is a recipe for people to reject being vaccinated. That’s not necessarily totally unfounded: it’s one thing to reject a vaccine based on false anti-vaxxer propaganda, but a different one to reject based on genuine fear of being given something that’s not tested throughly enough. Honest and clear communication is absolutely key. And I think that health authorities and physicians might even be wise in, dare I say it, maybe even agreeing that younger low risk individuals forgo being the first to be vaccinated if they hesitate. Thinking that vaccines cause autism or that the government has a sinister agenda in vaccinating the population, is not the same thing as being hesitant in accepting a vaccine that is novel and perhaps rushed.
Greg (Colorado)
Your concerns are valid. However, the National Heath Service has much more credibility in my mind than any federal entity touched by this administration and they are aggressively rolling this out to Britain. Wish we had an NHS!
FlyinAC (Davidsonville, MD)
@Amy Gdala It's scary, but what is the alternative?? I don't want to be isolating any more. I'll take it as soon as I can. I normally don't buy the "whatever doesn't kill you will make you better" malarkey, but in this case it might actually be true.
Theresa (PNW)
@Amy Gdala younger people under about 55 (that are healthy and not front lines workers) are so far back on the list that by the time we get the vaccines, there will be tons of info out there. The people you describe are not allowed to be in the groups who have priority for the vaccine.
Tom (Oregon)
Well, there goes Trump's argument that he is solely responsible for getting COVID vaccine on the market, no doubt what he will tout as one of his greatest accomplishments. Pfizer, unaided by the US government, gets the vaccine out on the market - to Britain's National Health Service. Yes, to the "socialists" who dare to have an organized national health care system.
Alive and Well (Freedom City)
I also am a recipient of the Pfizer vaccine in trials in New York City. After Dose 2, within 12 hours, my dose site got red hot. My entire upper arm burned. I could feel the heat through my sweater. I developed a fever that rose to 101.7 before I called the study’s 24-hour hotline. The physician told me that this was “normal for the vaccine”. He assured me that I did NOT have COVID because the vaccine contains bits and pieces of genetic material for the virus, not the virus itself. After ibuprofen my fever reduced to 99 and took a total of about 36 hours to lift. I also experienced chills and fatigue. It’s important to tell people what to expect so that rumors about getting ‘symptoms’ don’t get out of hand. Though not feeling great for this short period, I was delighted to know that I’d apparently gotten the vaccine and not the placebo. I was delighted to know that I was safe from the disease. It has changed my outlook entirely. I encourage everyone to get the vaccine despite knowing they might have a strong reaction signifying that their immune system is coming on board.
Kendra (New Orleans)
@Alive and Well I'm a participant in the Johnson & Johnson trial and felt like I got hit by a truck the next day (headache, fatigue, and muscle pain), but I was just fine the following day. I'm happy to have lost a day to rest to help add to the body of data!
Beki (NY)
@Alive and Well are you male or female? If you are female, were you told the risk to fertility is “unknown”. So you know of Drs request to the E.U. to suspend licencing until it is established that the formation of placenta proteins won’t be affected? Along with questions about mNeonGreen and why it is in the vaccine, etc.
Lizzie (Baltimore)
@Alive and Well Thanks for particpating and being part of the effort to help the rest of us.
bsanyang (?)
This is fantastic! Science for the win!
See also