It’s been two years of the covid pandemic, and still, the number of deaths are rising! Right now, nearly 470,093,780 positive cases have been reported worldwide, whereas, in the US, the number of infected cases was 81,404,135, which seems to be less than from previous years. In fact, people are back to their everyday lives. However, this present situation can be chaotic if people don’t get early immunization. And yes, in this case, apart from other pharmaceuticals, Pfizer did a tremendous job to save countless lives from the devastation. So, how does this pharma giant win this vaccine race?
Building the Blocks
During a pandemic, our busy life stopped moving for the time being. However, at that moment, some dedicated scientists began to investigate the nature of this deadly covid virus, which gave the idea to promising pharma companies for producing antidotes to save a life.
The race of vaccine production does not stick to only Americans; countries like the U.K., Germany, China, India, and Russia are jumped into this unpredictable vaccine race where no one knows what will happen. Moreover, within a year of the pandemic, New York-based Big Pharma company Pfizer made history by creating the first lifesaving covid vaccine, which FDA approved for emergency authorization. Like you, people over this planet have already seen this news many times.
But do you know within a short time how this vaccine gets FDA approvals? Because to get final authorized, any kind of vaccine or drug needs to undergo a much-sophisticated procedure and trial. So that means sure, Pfizer did some magic or cast a spell over the FDA, right?
Surprisingly, the truth is- that instead of doing magic, Pfizer used mRNA technology to make this groundbreaking vaccine. Yes, from our science class, we already know quite a bit about it. Producing mRNA vaccines actually not a new concept at all. In fact, this was practiced for several decades before covid 19 even came to light. But every time, scientists lost their hope due to the unstable nature of mRNA and the expensive manufacturing process of this vaccine.
Just as expected, when scientists packed up all their recipe books for these mRNA vaccines, then on the day of April 2020, Pfizer partnered with little-known German biotech company BioNTech to begin developing a COVID-19 vaccine. With the blessing of genetic technology, these two companies succeeded in producing synthetic messenger RNA that directs protein production in cells throughout our body, which will trigger an immune response against viruses.
From then, the story of Pfizer continued to sail everywhere! After receiving the positive output from a phase-3 clinical trial, on a fine day of Dec. 2, 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech received the world’s first temporary authorization in the U.K. for their coronavirus vaccine BNT162b2. And get FDA approval in august 2021.
After getting approval from the FDA and U.K, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was used in 158 countries worldwide. According to data, in the United States, a total of 558 million doses have been given so far, whereas, among all these numbers, almost 329 million Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered, although, in the European Union, it was 598.15 million, which was way more than other vaccines.
During this vaccine distribution, strategic action was taken by global organizations like WHO, which actually helped Pfizer vaccine to get more access publicly. WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has issued interim recommendations for the use of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine against this deadly COVID-19. Besides, associations like The People’s Vaccine Alliance which has 80 members, including the African Alliance, Global Justice Now, Oxfam, and UNAIDS, played a significant role in the distribution of the Pfizer vaccine globally!
Moreover, the most surprising fact is that all these corrective distributions were done by Pfizer’s very own 24/7 control tower monitoring and tracking!
Funding and Political Relations
This is all about Pfizer’s side. On the administration side, who else doesn’t remember Officials with Operation Warp Speed? Where former President Trump administration’s paid multibillion-dollar by Collaborating with renowned organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and CDC to develop, manufacture, and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine in record time! Moreover, as a coin has two sides, so there was a two-faced story placed on the discussion table too!
According to a report in Fortune, Pfizer didn’t receive any funding from this Operation Warp Speed for the development, clinical trial, and manufacturing of the vaccine. Instead, its partner, BioNTech, has been able to raise funding from the German government! Berlin gave this German Biotech company $445 million in an agreement so that vaccine production could be accelerated effectively! However, from the general people’s side, it’s way more a complex topic to think about!
So far, this vaccine has been able to raise some $800 million in R&D funding throughout the world. And the reason behind all this support comes from the great political deals between Pfizer and other countries. An example can be Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hopeful statement regarding the Pfizer vaccine, where he called Bourla the chief executive of Pfizer 30 times!
Besides the Israeli Prime Minister, by email, text, or phone, global leaders have pleaded with Bourla for this life-saving vaccine order, even in some cases hoping that it might rescue precious political careers. Pfizer has become a world hero to distribute all its vaccines to save countless lives all along. After hearing all this, you might be thinking, why are we all up to Pfizer’s story? There are other vaccines that actually contribute to this vaccine race too! , Even Moderna, the first US company, brought a vaccine which is also targeted mRNA technology! So, what makes Pfizer so special among the rest??
Pfizer vs Other Vaccines
Yes, on the basis of the contribution, we can not compare all these vaccines in one line. So far, we have seen ten different vaccines worldwide! But according to the report, Pfizer serves a 95% efficiency rate in terms of Phase 3 clinical trials, whereas Moderna serves 94.1%, AstraZeneca 76%, Novavax 90.4%, and J and J only 66.9%. In all of these cases, a higher number of people are taking part in BioNTech, Pfizer vaccine trial where the lowest one is observed in Sinovac! And if you think this percentage can be somewhat negligible, then hold on second.
There are reported blood clotting cases that have been seen in people who received Jonson and Jonson vaccine. Even after this incident, the US government paused the administration of this vaccine. Besides this, uncommon issues like Allergic reaction, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and spinal cord inflammation can be seen in people who took AstraZeneca. However, Moderna has some beneficial effects regarding efficacy, but due to shipment delays and production issues, Moderna faces more challenges to fulfilling the public demand.
And all these issues actually responsible for Pfizer gaining trust worldwide, where according to a report, this drugmaker makes $37bn in vaccine sales worldwide. Yes, it’s way more than you have ever imagined! Since COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in the US on Dec 14, 2020, complete vaccination has been seen in 65.3% of the total U.S. population. But in the early days, getting vaccinated was not the easiest option for Americans! Even due to growing misconceptions, in one survey, 49% of Americans said they probably would not get vaccinated!
However, to fill-up, up this misconception, a little, Pfizer, BioNTech, and an alliance of healthcare associations launched an innovative campaign named to inspire confidence in the Covid-19 vaccine. Where they made ads that focus on tag lines like Science can make it possible, Only you can make it real’. The ads direct viewers to seek more information about Covid-19 vaccination at SciencePossible.com, which directly links to CDC and WHO. Besides that, who doesn’t remember Pfizer and National Geographic documentary, which cover the inside story of Pfizer covid vaccine production!
In addition, if you think after developing the covid vaccine, Pfizer stops moving, then sorry to surprise you! This Pharma titan continues its partnership with BioNTech to develop a new shingles vaccine, as one in three people in the United States suffers this condition during their lifetime! Apart from this new vaccine, after a newly covid outbreak in China, Pfizer is looking for FDA authorization for the fourth Covid-19 vaccine doses for people 65 and above!
Thus, these are the reasons why Pfizer wins the vaccine race. We can hope that if this 150-year-old pharma giant continues to boom like this, then near future, people are going to find their real superhero who saves all lives!