Pfizer Lead Principal Investigator says vaccine alone will not get us back to "normal" anytime soon

Karen Tararache
Created: November 20, 2020 11:19 PM

ALBANY - "We're blinded. We don't know who got placebo, who got vaccine. It's a fifty-fifty split, it's a flip of a coin."

Albany native, Dr. Stephen Thomas and his team at Suny Upstate Medical University in Syracuse tested 300 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 85. 

"We also wanted to preferentially enroll African Americans and Latinos because those populations have born the worst burden of this pandemic," Thomas said.

Across 150 testing sites worldwide, the trial showed a 95% efficacy rate in preventing COVID-19.

Friday, Pfizer and German partner BioNTech submitted it's findings to the Federal Drug Administration to review. 
If they decide to issue an emergency use authorization, 50 million doses of the vaccine could be distributed next month.

"They expect in 2021 anywhere between 1.3 and 1.5 billion doses will be made available globally," Thomas added.

Dubbed by the Trump administration, "Operation Warp Speed," this two dose vaccine took under a year and nearly two billion dollars to develop.

If approved, tiers of distribution will be established by individual states, with front line workers likely being the first to receive the vaccine.

But Dr. Thomas warns, it alone will not be enough to change the curve and get us back to "normal" anytime soon.

"Public health interventions work. Wearing masks work. Social distancing works. Staying home if you're sick prevents infections," Thomas said.
Dr. Thomas says Americans face a test next Thursday with how they conduct themselves around the Thanksgiving holiday. If people make good decisions, and apply good behaviors then together, we can change the COVID-19 curve.

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