November 12, 2020 -- If the new coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer is approved by the FDA, Anthony Fauci, MD, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he will take it.
Fauci added that he trusts Pfizer and the FDA and has confidence in the vaccine’s approval.
“I’m going to look at the data,” he told MSNBC on Tuesday. “But I trust Pfizer. I trust the FDA.”
On Monday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their vaccine candidate has 90% efficacy and appears to keep 9 out of 10 people from getting COVID-19. The companies plan to submit data to the FDA for emergency use authorization as soon as clinical trials reach the “required safety milestone,” which is expected to occur in the third week of November.
“We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data generated from thousands of participants in the coming weeks,” Anthony Bourla, the CEO and chairman of Pfizer, said in a statement.
An external, independent Data Monitoring Committee examined the data on Nov. 8, the companies said. Now scientists at Pfizer will look at the data and analyze it, Fauci told MSNBC, which will then go to the FDA, where independent scientists will review the data and consult their own an advisory committee about whether to allow the vaccine to be used. .
To start, the FDA will likely issue an emergency use authorization for the vaccine, Fauci said, which will open up vaccine use for high priority groups, such as frontline health care workers and residents in long-term care facilities. Vaccine doses will likely go to those groups in December, Fauci said.
Following an emergency use authorization, Pfizer will pursue full FDA approval for the vaccine. Once approved, doses will be distributed according to priority plans created by an independent advisory committee and the CDC. When it’s his turn on the priority list, Fauci said he’ll take the vaccine approved by the FDA.
“These are colleagues of mine for decades, the career scientists,” Fauci added. “If they look at this data and they say the data is solid … I promise you, I will take the vaccine, and I will recommend that my family take the vaccine.”
If distribution logistics go well, the Pfizer vaccine could be widely available by April, Fauci told CNN on Tuesday. Until then, people should continue to wear face masks and maintain social distancing as coronavirus cases surge at peak levels in most states across the U.S.
“For the time being, we’ve got to adhere to the public health measures,” Fauci said. “When you know help is on the way, don’t give up … Hang in there a bit longer.”