By Michael Decker
4 minute read
Recent news that the Pfizer vaccine worked about 90% of the time against the virus, something universally applauded by company and public officials and which comforted millions in the US and abroad. The thought of life returning to something of pre-virus normality is certainly powerful. It is therefore unsurprising that public health experts, notably Dr. Anthony Fauci, have been getting attention in the news.
Fauci called the results of the trials of the Pfizer vaccine, whose development was largely the responsibility of a Turkish-German couple, a “big deal”. There are 11 other vaccines currently in Stage 3 trials. A number of volunteers of the Pfizer trials, which enrolled more than 430,000 across six countries (note: this updates a report on DMC relying on published reports that only around 90 people were studied) reported to the tabloids in the UK and US, that they experienced significant side effects, including fever and chills; at least one volunteer likened their experience to being hung over. Similar side-effects were noted in the Astra Zeneca vaccine developed in collaboration with Oxford University and these reported issues led to the clinical trials going on hiatus for a time.
All in all, these side effects will likely not be enough to derail the Pfizer inoculation, but they should give pause to individuals who fall into vulnerable categories due to pre-existing conditions or their age. The promise of stopping the spread of the virus outweighs these discomforts, certainly, which by all accounts were short-term. Patients who experienced the symptoms reported that they tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of the vaccine and cause for hope of thwarting the further spread of the deadly illness.
Should we be worried that the company’s Chairman and CEO, Albert Bourla sold $5.6 worth of shares in the wake of the news? Company stock has sunk more than 7% since then.