Spain’s Health Minister, Salvador Illa, hopes that “this week or next”some more contracts can be signed with new pharmaceutical companies to acquire a future vaccine against Covid-19. These include Pfizer and Biontech. Last Monday, these companies announced that their vaccine is more than 90% effective, after the “success” of the first intermediate analysis of their phase 3 trial.
So, “if everything were to go very well,” the first doses of the vaccine could begin to arrive at the end of this year. On a less optimistic note, however, the Minister has indicated early next year as the approximate date. So depending on the terms of the contract with Pfizer, the health sector estimates that about 20 million doses could arrive in Spain. That would mean some 10 million people could be immunized, as the vaccine must be administered in two doses.
The truth is that the FDA requires 6 months of study to be able to approve mass vaccination and that will not be until March/April for US. On the other hand, Pfizer will only have 30-50 million doses available in 2020 although in 2021 they hope to reach 1300 million doses along with Moderna.
In fact, US pharmaceutical firm Moderna also announced this week that its Covid-19 vaccine is as effective as Pfizer’s. The company expects to obtain the verdict on the effectiveness of its vaccine (phase III) in a few days.
The trial has been conducted with 53 patients infected so far (but in the end it will be a few more versus the 94 in Pfizer’s case), which is a sample broad enough to accurately determine the vaccine’s effectiveness.
In any event, the last big question regarding the two possible vaccines is how long will this immunity last? two months? three? a year?
While awaiting answers to these questions, what is certain is that in Spain the vaccine will be free for the population. It will be administered within the National Health System (SNS), and distributed and dispensed according to what the vaccination experts say.