Pfizer

Business • Health Care
BioNtech-Pfizer vaccine stops 89.4 percent of virus transmission
BioNtech-Pfizer vaccine stops 89.4 percent of virus transmission
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect, Logos Pifzer & BioNTech

According to an initial study, the vaccine from BioNtech and its US partner Pfizer apparently largely prevents the transmission of the coronavirus. This is the result of a large observational study conducted jointly with the Israeli Ministry of Health. The study found that the vaccine was 89.4 percent effective in preventing Sars-CoV-2 infections.

The study is based on data from 1.1775 million vaccinated Israelis. Vaccinated people are thus not only protected from disease but also appear to have a high probability of no longer infecting other people.

According to the data, the vaccine also has an efficancy of nearly 96 percent after two doses of vaccination. According to the Israeli Ministry of Health, two weeks after the second dose of vaccine, 95.8 percent fewer infections were found in vaccinated people than in unvaccinated people. One week after the second dose, efficacy is 91.9 percent, according to the report.

Regional News • World
BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine can be stored in higher temperatures than initially thought, new data shows
BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine can be stored in higher temperatures than initially thought, new data shows
Credit: U.S. Secretary of Defense, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The BioNTech/Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine had originally been approved for storage at a minimum of -60 degrees celsius but according to new data, the vaccine is more robust than initially thought and can be stored at minus 25 to minus 15 degrees celsius.

Higher temperature storage would result in "greater flexibility" and "even easier to transport and use", so BioNTech’s chief executive Ugur Sahin.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden says US has "purchased enough vaccine supply to vaccinate all Americans", criticises his predecessor for not having a vaccine distribution plan
Biden says US has "purchased enough vaccine supply to vaccinate all Americans", criticises his predecessor for not having a vaccine distribution plan
Credit: The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

President Joe Biden has announced that the United States "purchased enough vaccine supply to vaccinate all Americans" and his administration was working "to get those vaccines into the arms of millions of people". A total of 200 million vaccine doses will be delivered by Moderna and Pfizer by the end of July, months sooner than initially planned.

"While scientists did their job in discovering vaccines in record time, my predecessor -- I'll be very blunt about it -- did not do his job in getting ready for the massive challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans. He didn't order enough vaccines. He didn't mobilize enough people to administer the shots. He didn't set up the federal vaccine centers where eligible people can go and get their shots," Biden said. "When I became president three weeks ago, America had no plan to vaccinate most of the country. It was a big mess."

Regional News • Europe • European Union
BioNTech and Pfizer pledge 75m additional doses to EU
BioNTech and Pfizer pledge 75m additional doses to EU
Credit: Pfizer, BioNTech

On Monday, BioNTech and Pfizer said they would increase their Covid-19 vaccine delivery the European Union in the second quarter of 2021, pledging an additional 75 million doses. Both BioNTech-Pfizer and AstraZeneca have recently experienced production delays, resulting in slower vaccine distribution schedules in the EU.

Health
Covid-19: Israeli data supports Pfizer vaccine effectiveness
Covid-19: Israeli data supports Pfizer vaccine effectiveness
Credit: Pfizer, BioNTech

Fewer than 0.01% of people who received Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine have contracted the virus more than a week after receiving the second dose, a leading Israeli healthcare provider said on Monday. The preliminary results shared by Israeli HMO Maccabi showed that only 20 people out of some 128,600 who received both shots have since been infected with the COVID-19 virus. Israel is a world leader with its rapid vaccine rollout, though the data also comes during a nationwide lockdown that has been helping to stem contagion. All patients experienced a mild illness with symptoms including headaches, cough, weakness or fatigue.

Business • Health Care
Sanofi to help produce millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
Sanofi to help produce millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
Credit: Sanofi de, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Sanofi, a French Pharma group, has agreed to produce 125 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Coronavirus vaccine, a rare collaboration in the industry. Sanofi's own vaccine did not show sufficient results in December.

Head of Sanofi France Olivier Bogillot: "We looked at how we could show solidarity. When you look at the technological and industrial capacities of Sanofi, our expertise, I'm very proud that Sanofi has made this choice."

Regional News • Europe
AstraZeneca says initial EU delivery of Covid-19 vaccine to fall short
AstraZeneca Logo
AstraZeneca Logo Credit: AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca told European Union officials that initial deliveries to the region would fall short of the targeted volumes because of a production glitch.

The announcement comes after European officials clashed this week with Pfizer and BioNTech over the companies' decision to cut their own planned deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines to the bloc.

Health
Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Benedict received first shot of Covid-19 vaccine
Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Benedict received first shot of Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Vatican News

The Vatican confirmed on Thursday that Pope Francis, aged 84, and retired Pope Benedict, aged 93, have had their first doses of a coronavirus vaccine. The pontiff and his predecessor got the first half of their vaccinations as part of a campaign for Vatican City residents and employees launched on January 13th.

"You are gambling with your health, with your life, but you are also gambling with the lives of others," Francis said in a recent interview with Italian broadcaster Canale 5. He said "anti-vaxxers" were living in inexplicable "suicidal denial."

In December, the head of the Vatican's health service said the tiny city-state would roll out its vaccination program with the Pfizer medication.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU Commission orders up to 300 million more vaccine doses from BioNtech
EU Commission orders up to 300 million more vaccine doses from BioNtech
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect

The EU Commission has concluded a contract for up to 300 million more doses of the Corona vaccine from the Mainz-based company BioNtech and its US partner Pfizer. 75 million doses of this should be available as early as the second quarter of 2021, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels on Friday.

Back in November, the EU Commission ordered up to 300 million doses of vaccine from BioNtech/Pfizer for all 27 states - a firm order for 200 million doses and an option for 100 million more, which was recently pulled.

In Germany, BioNtech is currently working on a new production site in Marburg. If this goes into operation in February as planned, the company will be able to massively expand vaccine production.

Health
Study: BioNTech vaccine effective against mutation
Study: BioNTech vaccine effective against mutation
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect

The corona vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer also protects against a mutation of the virus that has emerged in the UK and South Africa, according to a new study. The variants of the virus first discovered in the UK and South Africa feature a mutation that did not block the vaccine in the study. The study was published on the Internet for researchers and has not yet been reviewed by experts.

The mutation, called N501Y, is a slight change in a site of the spike protein on the surface of the virus. This change is thought to be the reason why the two variants can spread so quickly. Most vaccines being rolled out around the world teach the bodies of those vaccinated to recognize and fight the spike protein.

Health
European Medicines Agency approves drawing six instead of five vaccination doses per BioNtech ampoule in EU
European Medicines Agency approves drawing six instead of five vaccination doses per BioNtech ampoule in EU
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

From now on, more people can be vaccinated with the Covid-19 vaccine from one ampoule of the manufacturers BioNtech and Pfizer.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved that six instead of five doses may be drawn from an ampoule, said a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Health in Berlin on Friday.

This approval of six instead of five vaccinations per ampoule applies only to the EU. In the remaining countries outside the EU, the national authorities decide whether to change the vaccine approval.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
BioNTech founders warn of Covid-19 vaccine supply issues in EU
BioNTech founders warn of Covid-19 vaccine supply issues in EU
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

BioNTech is working flat out with partner Pfizer to boost production of their Covid-19 vaccine, its founders said, warning there would be gaps in supply until other vaccines were rolled out. The German biotech start-up has led the vaccine race but its shot has been slow to arrive in the EU due to relatively slow approval from the bloc’s health regulator and the small size of the order placed by Brussels.

The delays have caused consternation in Germany, where some regions had to temporarily close vaccination centres days after the launch of an inoculation drive on December 27th.

Health
One day delay in Pfizer vaccine delivery to Spain due to logistical issue
One day delay in Pfizer vaccine delivery to Spain due to logistical issue
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa announced that Pfizer has postponed the delivery of a new batch of the coronavirus vaccine to the country by one day to Tuesday due to a logistics hurdle.

The cool boxes designed by Pfizer have GPS trackers so the company can deal with potential storage issues en route. The vaccine must be stored at ultra-low temperatures of about -70 degrees Celsius before being shipped to distribution centres in specially designed cool boxes filled with dry ice.

"Due to a minor logistical issue, we have rescheduled a limited number of our deliveries," Andrew Widger, Pfizer's director for media relations said.

Regional News • Europe • France
France: Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine approved by medical regulator
France: Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine approved by medical regulator
Credit: unsplash.com/CDC

The French medical regulator has approved the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on Thursday.

"The vaccine can be used for people aged 16 and over, including elderly", said the Haute Autorité de la Santé (HAS).

Regional News • Americas • United States
US buys 100m more Covid-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer
US buys 100m more Covid-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer
Credit: Pfizer, BioNTech

The United States will purchase an additional 100 million doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a cost of $1.95 billion, bringing the total number of vaccine doses to be delivered to the country by the end of July 2021 to 200 million.

“This new federal purchase can give Americans even more confidence that we will have enough supply to vaccinate every American who wants it by June 2021,” so Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in a statement.

Regional News • Americas • United States
US President-elect Joe Biden has gotten vaccinated against Covid-19
US President-elect Joe Biden has gotten vaccinated against Covid-19
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / NBC News

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has gotten his first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine injected in front of television cameras. At a hospital in Newark, Delaware, he called on Americans to do the same: there is no need to worry, he said. His wife, Jill, has also been vaccinated. She received the vaccine from BioNTech and Pfizer, which was also approved in the EU today.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
European Medicines Agency issues "positive scientific opinion" on BioNTech Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
European Medicines Agency issues "positive scientific opinion" on BioNTech Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has announced via Twitter that the European Medicines Agency has "just issued a positive scientific opinion on the #BioNTech / @pfizer vaccine". She now expects that the European Commission will decide "by this evening" if the vaccine will be permitted.

Regional News • Americas • United States
McConnell and Pelosi receive Covid-19 vaccine
McConnell and Pelosi receive Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: @SpeakerPelosi via Twitter

On Friday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi both received Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine. Dr. Brian Monahan, who administered the vaccine, urges people to get vaccinated, saying that his "recommendation to you is absolutely unequivocal: there is no reason why you should defer receiving this vaccine" and that the "benefit far exceeds any small risk."

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Sir Ian McKellen receives Covid-19 vaccine
Sir Ian McKellen receives Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / NHS England

The actor Sir Ian McKellen, who is most famous for his role as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, has received the Covid-19 vaccine by Pfizer/BioNTech. Being 81 years old, the actor was among the first groups to be vaccinated in the United Kingdom.

He publically stated: "I really hope that, as more people get vaccinated, we will move further along the path back to a more normal way of life".

Regional News • Europe • European Union
Covid-19: Germany hopeful of earlier EU vaccine decision
Jens Spahn
Jens Spahn Credit: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

After the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced it would issue its decision on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on December 21, German Health Minister Jens Spahn, speaking at a joint press conference with the Robert Koch Institute, the government agency responsible for disease control and prevention, said the report was "good news."

A fortnight ago, BioNTech and Pfizer submitted an application to the EMA for conditional marketing authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine. President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that she welcomed the EMA's decision to bring the meeting forward.