European Union signs COVID-19 vaccine deal with CureVac

US plans to start dispensing Pfizer COVID vaccine from next month

The news comes after Pfizer and BioNTech, Russia and Moderna all released interim data from Phase III trials of their potential vaccines showing more than 90% efficacy, boosting hopes that vaccines against the pandemic disease may be ready for use soon.

Pfizer Inc said today that final results from the late-stage trial of its Covid-19 vaccine showed it was 95 per cent effective, adding it had the required two-months of safety data and would apply for emergency United States authorization within days. In those, 90 of them were in the population that did not receive the vaccine, and only five were the only infections that did.

Pfizer said there were 170 cases of Covid-19 in its trial of more than 43,000 volunteers and only eight people with the disease had been given the shot rather than a placebo, meaning the vaccine had a 95% efficacy rate. Europe's STOXX 600 and the U.S S&P 500 futures EScv1 both rose about 0.3% to hit highs for the day.

"The Pfizer vaccine will not be available to us for a few months". It can, however, be kept in a normal fridge for up to five days, or up to 15 days in a thermal shipping box. Moderna Inc on Monday released preliminary data for its vaccine, showing similar effectiveness.

Compared to Pfizer, Afeyan said that Moderna's innovations enable it to "keep the vaccine under refrigeration conditions for up to 30 days", enabling broad distribution. Of the 95 cases in Moderna's trial, 11 were severe and all 11 occurred among volunteers who got the placebo.

The United States has the world's highest known number of COVID-19 cases and deaths with more than 11 million infections and almost 250,000 deaths.

Moderna, part of the US government's Operation Warp Speed program, expects to produce about 20 million doses for the United States this year, millions of which the company has already made and is ready to ship if it gets FDA authorization.

Of the 10 people who had severe COVID-19, one had received the vaccine. There were also no major side effects, making it deployable worldwide.

"It is likely that vaccines that prevent symptomatic disease will reduce the duration and level of infectiousness, and thus reduce transmission, but we don't yet know if this effect will be large enough to make any meaningful difference to the spread of the virus within communities", said Eleanor Riley, professor of immunology and infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh.

The only severe adverse event that affected more than 2% of those vaccinated was fatigue, which affected 3.7% of recipients after the second dose. Most of these complaints were generally short-lived, Moderna said.

Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said: "This ... is very good news indeed".

According to the World Health Organization the news is "quite encouraging" but more data is needed, chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said.

Pfizer reiterated it expects to make as many as 50 million vaccine doses this year, enough to protect 25 million people, and then produce up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021. It has also started human trials on its own vaccine candidate.