Pfizer said Friday it is asking U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine, starting the clock on a process that could bring limited first shots as early as next month and eventually an end to the pandemic — but not until after a long, hard winter.
The action comes days after Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech announced that its vaccine appears 95% effective at preventing mild to severe COVID-19 disease in a large, ongoing study.
The companies said that protection plus a good safety record means the vaccine should qualify for emergency use authorization, something the Food and Drug Administration can grant before the final testing is fully complete. In addition to Friday’s FDA submission, they have already started “rolling” applications in Europe and the U.K. and intend to submit similar information soon.
I am not one who rejects vaccines. I have taken all of the normal ones throughout my life and believe them to be a prudent way to prevent severe illnesses with minor risk. There’s no way I’m taking the first round of a vaccine that was rushed to market to prevent a disease that my immune system will almost certainly be able to fight of when I get it. For people who are in a higher risk category for COVID, y’all’s risk/benefit assessment may be different. But I would count on wide swaths of Americans taking a pass for a while until we see how the first few waves of vaccinations go.
The question will be… what will the government and businesses do to force it? We have already see several businesses jumping to find ways to force their customers to get a vaccine. We are in a dangerous transition point in our nation’s history. I’m not sure that we will ever get back.