Pfizer Inc said on Wednesday that final results from the late-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine show it was 95 percent effective, adding it had the required two-months of safety data and would apply for emergency US authorization within days.
The better-than-expected data from the two vaccines, both developed with new technology known as messenger RNA (mRNA), have raised hopes for an end to a resurgent pandemic that has killed more than 1.3 million people globally and wreaked havoc upon economies and daily life.
However, while some groups such as healthcare workers will be prioritized in the United States for vaccinations this year, it will be months before large-scale rollouts begin.
Pfizer said on Wednesday there had been 170 cases of the disease in its trial of more 43,000 volunteers, of which 162 were observed in the placebo arm and 8 were in the vaccine group.
Ten people developed severe COVID-19, one of whom received the vaccine.
It also said the vaccine was well-tolerated and that side effects were mostly mild to moderate and cleared up quickly.
The only severe adverse event that affected more than 2 percent of those vaccinated was fatigue, which affected 3.7 percent of recipients after the second dose. Older adults tended to report fewer and milder solicited adverse events following vaccination.
The results come as the virus is running rampant in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, placing an enormous strain on healthcare systems with record numbers of new cases and hospitalizations.
The approach of winter in the northern hemisphere in tandem with the holiday season is expected to worsen case numbers as people spend more time indoors and get together for family gatherings.
“With hundreds of thousands of people around the globe infected every day, we urgently need to get a safe and effective vaccine to the world,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.