The World Health Organization expects ‘very limited’ COVID-19 vaccine doses available in the first half of 2021.
WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said that she remained optimistic that the body would be able to work with many manufacturers to have a wide selection of vaccines as part of its global distribution scheme.
“We are looking at least the first half of the year as being a period with very limited doses. Supplies are going to be limited, there are bilateral deals that many of the companies have done, so many of the doses have already been booked by some countries,” Swaminathan said.
She said that the Moderna results were “quite encouraging”. Its final efficacy and safety profile would still be needed, as well as follow-up on trial participants for two months for any side effects.
Pfizer and Moderna candidate vaccines both use mRNA technology and appear to achieve high efficacy, she added.
“But there are many, many questions still remaining about the duration of protection, the impact on severe disease, the impact on different sub-populations especially the elderly, as well as the adverse events beyond a certain period of time,” Swaminathan said.
“We will be looking really carefully at the ease at which different vaccines can be delivered and certainly about the number of doses that are required,” she said. Soumya Swaminathan said that she remained optimistic that the body would be able to work with many manufacturers to have a wide selection of vaccines as part of its global distribution scheme.
Moderna Inc’s experimental vaccine is 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data from a late-stage trial, the company said on Monday, becoming the second U.S. drugmaker to report results that far exceed expectations.
Together with Pfizer Inc’s vaccine, which is also more than 90% effective, and pending more safety data and regulatory review, the United States could have two vaccines authorized for emergency use in December with as many as 60 million doses of vaccine available this year.
Clinical trials must continue to collect more data, she said, adding that more results were expected in coming weeks from the other vaccine trials.