TEXAS – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he expected the first shipment of Pfizer’s touted COVID-19 vaccine to come by the end of November, but that doesn’t mean the public will have to access to it before the end of the year.
Abbott said Texas stands ready to distribute the vaccine “immediately,” along with two experimental antibody treatments that have recently received emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration. But more work must be done before the vaccine is ready to go.
Pfizer said the vaccine is 90% effective, but stressed that percentage can change. The figure came from an interim analysis conducted by an independent data monitoring board. The study is still continuing, and Pfizer has warned that the protection rate might change as more COVID-19 cases are added to the calculations.
In addition to the need for more clear and extensive results, this vaccine faces another obstacle in its distribution process.
The vaccine utilizes new technology where the doses are made with a piece of genetic code rather than with the novel coronavirus itself. Because of that, the doses need to be stored in extremely cold temperatures. Currently, it needs to be kept at negative 94 degrees Farenheit, according to Reuters.
“The cold chain is going to be one of the most challenging aspects of delivery of this vaccination,” Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Reuters.