CHI Doctor Advises Caution on Pfizer Vaccine News

Nov. 9, 2020, 1:52 p.m. ·


A vaccine expert at CHI Health and Creighton University says he’s cautiously optimistic about news from drug-maker Pfizer that its COVID-19 vaccine has been 90% effective in trials and could be ready for mass distribution before the end of the year. But Dr. David Quimby warns none of the actual data has been released yet and there’s still a long way to go before a vaccine makes it to market.

“Right now that have not even applied for what’s called an EUA, or an emergency use authorization,” Quimby said. “That’s where they present information to the FDA saying, hey, we have this, we think it’s good, but the full data isn’t necessarily there yet and the FDA can look at it and decide if it’s worthwhile to use in emergency situation.”

An efficacy rate of 40-60% is typical for flu vaccines. Pfizer’s preliminary COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness is more in line with measles and chicken pox vaccines, which are very high. Quimby says another challenge for vaccine makers is transporting and keeping the vaccine at very cold temperatures needed to maintain its effectiveness.