On Pfizer Inc said it had applied to U.S. health regulators for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its COVID-19 vaccine, a big step toward providing protection against the new coronavirus. This application came just days after Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTX) reported final trial results that showed the vaccine was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 with no vital side affects.
When the news came out that the vaccine would soon be available, Pfizer’s shares rose 2% and BioNTech climbed 5%. This has raised a lot of hope for the end of a pandemic that has claimed 1.3 million lives worldwide. The companies expect the FDA to grant the EUA by mid-December and said they will begin shipping doses almost right away. Pfizer has said it expects to have 50 million vaccine doses ready this year, enough to protect 25 million people. An FDA advisory committee tentatively plans to meet on Dec. 8-10 to discuss the vaccine, but the dates could change.
The final trial data showed the vaccine provided a similar level of protection across different ages and ethnicities – an encouraging result as the disease disproportionately hurts the elderly and minorities.