“Pfizer” and its partner “Biontech” and “Moderna” Company have published data showing that the two vaccines, which the three companies are working on producing, have a 95% effectiveness in preventing Covid-19 disease.
AstraZeneca reported this week that its vaccine could have a potency of up to 90%.
The companies said that distribution can begin immediately for governments around the world to decide who will receive the vaccine and in what order, if the relevant authorities approve these vaccines in the coming weeks.
When do companies launch the vaccine?
Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have already started manufacturing vaccines. This year, Pfizer said, it will produce enough to vaccinate 25 million people, Moderna will produce enough to immunize 10 million, while AstraZeneca will produce enough for more than 100 million people.
Distribution in the United States will be managed by the US Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it will likely begin in mid-December with an initial 6.4 million doses available across the country.
The health authorities in Britain intend to start distributing the vaccine as soon as possible, and that is expected to happen in December.
In the European Union, it is up to each of the 27 member states to start distributing vaccines to their own populations.
Who will get an approved vaccine in the United States and when?
The CDC said that when the US Food and Drug Administration approves the vaccine, about 21 million people will work in health care, in addition to three million people who live in health care centers for long periods of time.
The next group is likely to be the 87 million basic workers who work in jobs that cannot be accomplished from home, and these include firefighters, police, workers in education, transportation, food, agriculture and food services.
The next group of priorities is about 100 million adults with severe disease and 53 million over the age of 65 who are more likely to have the disease.
And public health officials in the United States said that vaccines will generally be available to most Americans in pharmacies, medical clinics and doctors’ offices in April, so that the vaccine will be available to anyone who wants vaccination by the end of next June.
It is unclear when the vaccine will be available to children, and Pfizer and Biontec began testing their vaccines on volunteers at the age of 12 years.
When will the vaccine be available in other countries?
Mechanisms exist in the European Union, Britain, Japan, Canada and Australia for rapid adoption of vaccines.
A large proportion of the doses that AstraZeneca will produce this year are expected to go to Britain, where health officials have said that after the vaccine is approved they may start immunizing people in December. And on top of their priorities are the workers and residents of nursing homes.
In Europe, the European Union’s Authority for Medicines Approval said it could issue its opinion on the safety of the vaccine during next December.
Most countries said that the first batch of the vaccine will be intended for the elderly, vulnerable and frontline workers, such as doctors.
Countries say they will buy the vaccine through the European Commission’s joint procurement plan, which has concluded deals for six different vaccines and nearly two billion doses.
Distribution schedules vary, and most countries still draw up plans for distribution and vaccination.
Italy expects to receive the first batches of the Pfizer-Biontec and AstraZeneca vaccines early next year, and Spain intends to start immunizing its citizens in January.
In Bulgaria, the Inspector General of Health said that he expects the first shipments to arrive in March or April, and the Minister of Health in Hungary said that doses will arrive in the spring at the earliest.
As for Germany, to which Biontech belongs, it expects to launch the vaccine in early 2021 in mass immunization centers in exhibition halls, airports and party halls.
Germany will also use mobile teams to serve nursing homes. Frontline health care workers will be vaccinated, who are most at risk of contracting COVID-19.
When do developing countries get vaccines?
The “Kovacs” program, led by the World Health Organization and the “Jaffe” vaccine group, which aims to pool funds from rich countries and non-profit organizations to buy vaccines and distribute them to dozens of poor countries, has raised two billion dollars.
The first goal of the program is to immunize 3% of people in those countries, with the percentage eventually rising to 20%. The program has signed a preliminary agreement to purchase the AstraZeneca vaccine, which does not require storage in special highly-cooled devices such as the Pfizer vaccine.
It is expected that the less wealthy countries in Africa and Southeast Asia, such as India, will receive the vaccine at reduced or free prices under this program in 2021, although this is not certain.
And other countries, such as: Latin American countries, may buy the vaccine via Kovacs. A few countries are also working to enter into agreements with pharmaceutical companies.
How much will the vaccine cost?
Vaccine manufacturers have negotiated varying prices that are not all disclosed, and governments have paid sums ranging from a few dollars for a dose of AstraZeneca to $ 50 for a two-dose Pfizer vaccine.
Many countries said they would cover the costs of vaccinating their own residents.