Tourism

Pfizer’s 90 per cent effective COVID vaccine could be available for Aussies next year

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

International travel may be one step closer, with a new vaccine front runner emerging that could lower your chance of getting COVID-19 by 90 per cent.

On Monday, Pfizer and BioNTech SE announced their vaccine candidate BNT162b2 was found to be more than 90 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior infection.

The vaccine is one of four that the Australian government has signed on to purchase if it works, with Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt predicting a vaccine will be available to Aussies within 2021.

“Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” Pfizer chairman and CEO Dr Albert Bourla said.

“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen.

“With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis. We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data generated from thousands of participants in the coming weeks.”

According to Pfizer, the vaccine consists of a two-dose schedule, meaning those seeking vaccination will receive two injections, three weeks apart.

The 90 per cent figure comes from the company’s phase three clinical trial, which kicked off in July with more than 43,000 participants.

However, according to ABC News, the vaccine’s 90 per cent ‘efficacy’ doesn’t measure how well it stops a vaccinated person from catching the virus, but its ability to stop or at least reduce the severity of COVID-19.

In other words, it lowers your chances of getting sick by 90 per cent, compared with an unvaccinated person.

“If you had 10 people who you knew were going to be infected … and you vaccinated those people before they were exposed, nine out of those 10 people would not develop (COVID-19),” Kylie Quinn, a vaccine expert at RMIT University, told ABC News.

While the results make the vaccine a front runner in the race to find a vaccine, there 10 more vaccines in phase 3 clinical trials, with Pfizer being the first to announce its results.


Featured image: iStock/simon2579

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