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Thursday, October 21, 2021

FDA says Pfizer vaccine ‘effective’ as Qatar awaits delivery


The Pfizer vaccine was rolled out in the UK this week, with plans for more countries to receive the Covid-19 jab soon.

The Pfizer, BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has “met the prescribed success criteria” without any safety concerns, the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] confirmed.

Data from the vaccine met the FDA’s expectations for emergency use, with the information confirming its efficacy and safety, Reuters reported, citing staff from the US regulator.

Researchers found that the vaccine’s results presented “similar efficacy point estimates across age groups, genders, racial and ethnic groups, and participants with medical comorbidities associated with high risk of severe COVID-19”.

While there is no information regarding its specific release date, countries are scheduled to receive it this month. However, experts are expected to meet with the FDA on Thursday to discuss whether the vaccine can be recommended for people aged 16 and older. 

The meeting will also determine whether to roll out the vaccine to Americans or not.

The FDA’s remarks emerged as the UK began using the Pfizer-BioNTech dose to immunise Britons, just days after the country became the first in the world to approve the coronavirus vaccine for use.

The first person to receive the vaccine was 90-year-old Margaret Keenan.

However, according to local media reports, the UK’s National Health Service [NHS] warned the vaccine was not safe for those with a history of allergic reactions, after confirming two of its workers experienced symptoms on Wednesday. 

Read also: UK first to approve Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

In Qatar, Dr. Soha Al-Bayat, Head of the Vaccination Unit at the Ministry of Public Health [MOPH], said the long-awaited coronavirus vaccine is set to roll out “within weeks”.

Qatar had previously signed an agreement with the companies to supply the country with BNT162 mRNA-based candidate vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.

Despite the step forward, Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation urged residents to remain vigilant.

“Our agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech is one of the options to help address the threat of this global pandemic in Qatar, but in the interim period while no approved vaccine is available, I would like to remind people of the need to follow the preventive measures and stay safe until such a vaccine is available,” he said.

Read also: COVID vaccine available in Qatar ‘within weeks’

The vaccine, manufactured by US pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, and German biotech firm, BioNTech, already presented promising results in its trial phase, proving to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 among those without evidence of prior infection.

According to Pfizer and BioNTech, protection from COVID-19 is achieved 28 days after the initial vaccination, which consists of a two-dose schedule.

The results from the third phase of the clinical trials were conducted by an independent Data Monitoring Committee and the analysis confirmed just 94 coronavirus infections among the trial’s 43,538 participants.

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