NEW YORK — The head of Pfizer has told Sky News his company is poised to send out doses of its COVID-19 vaccine "within hours" of it receiving official approval.
Chief Executive Albert Bourla said his company would be applying for permission from regulatory authorities across the world "very, very soon – within a couple of days" and was then ready to start shipping the first of 20 million vaccine doses that have already been made.
He told Sky News doses would be sent out to countries as soon as their health authorities gave permission, raising the possibility of a "race to regulate", but said the world would have to be "patient" because demand would outstrip supply.
"The light is real – there is light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "I believe that the second half of 2021 will be a very different experience for many of us." Mr Bourla spoke to Sky News exclusively, shortly after his company had concluded its Phase 3 study into its COVID-19 vaccine, created in partnership with the German firm BioNTech.
Pfizer said Wednesday that new test results show its coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective, is safe and also protects older people most at risk of dying — the last data needed to seek emergency use of limited shot supplies as the catastrophic outbreak worsens across the globe.
The announcement from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, just a week after they revealed the first promising preliminary results, comes as the team is preparing within days to formally ask U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of the vaccine. Anticipating that, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel is on standby to publicly debate the data in early December.
The companies also have begun “rolling submissions” for the vaccine with regulators in Europe, the U.K. and Canada and soon will add this new data.