The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Canadian government have hailed Pfizer and BioNTech’s announcement.
While the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, described the news as “encouraging,” the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, said the results were “promising.”
“We welcome the encouraging vaccine news from @Pfizer & @BioNTech Group & salute all scientists & partners around the world who are developing new safe, efficacious tools to beat #COVID19,” WHO’s director-general said in a tweet.
“The world is experiencing unprecedented scientific innovation & collaboration to end the pandemic,” he said.
As of mid-October, the WHO has identified 42 “candidate vaccines” at the stage of clinical trials, up from 11 in mid-June.
Ten of them were at the most advanced phasethree stage, in which a vaccine’s effectiveness is tested on a large scale, generally tens of thousands of people across several continents.
WHO’s Chief Scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, also said in a tweet yesterday that the news from Pfizer and BioNTech should “encourage all developers of #COVID19 vaccines to continue with clinical trials.”
“The world needs several safe, effective & affordable vaccines to end this pandemic,” she said.
Trudeau, at a news conference, called the results “promising.”
“We see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
The prime minister said he expects the vaccine to be distributed to Canadians “most likely in the first three months of 2021.”
“But,” he added: “There is a lot of uncertainty involved in these processes.”
Canada signed a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech in August for a minimum of 20 million doses of their vaccine.
Trudeau noted that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine poses some “logistical distribution” challenges, including that it must be stored at very cold temperatures and, therefore, getting it to Canadians will be “more complex and slightly more limiting.”
“We are already working on those necessary logistical supports,” he said.
Trudeau added that testing of several other vaccine candidates was “progressing well” and some of those could be rolled out in early 2021 too.
In Nigeria, President Buhari last night hailed the delivery of the first COVID-19 vaccine after a period of a successful trial.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement, said the president, in his reaction to the news that the vaccine had completed 90 percent trial, described the feat as a milestone in medical advancement.
He called for a sense of unity in the distribution of the vaccine with a view to guarantee the protection of the entire world.
The statement read: “President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed the arrival of the first effective coronavirus vaccine after a successful human trial phase.
“Reacting to the news that the vaccine has recorded 90 percent effectiveness against the disease, the president described the development as a major milestone in medical advancement but warned that the world must unite in facilitating the equitable access and distribution of these vaccines to protect people in all countries.
“President Buhari reiterated his earlier call that ‘only a people’s vaccine with equality and solidarity at its core can protect all of humanity and get our societies safely running again. A bold international agreement cannot wait.”’