Connecticut doctors: Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appears surprisingly effective
Bridgeport doctors say that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine seems like promising news.
The vaccine was partly developed in Connecticut at the company's research lab in Groton and tested in Milford.
Dr. Daniel Gottschall is the head of Medical Affairs at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport. He says even doctors were surprised at how effective this vaccine appears to be.
"When we immunize people, 90% of the time they're going to have some protection, which is so much different than what we're used to— let's say for influenza, which is more like 30% to 40%," Dr. Gottschall says.
Dr. Zane Saul, of Bridgeport Hospital, agrees that this is major progress.
"The way they defined it was, 90% of the people were COVID-free after two shots of the vaccine three weeks apart— as compared to placebo," says Dr. Saul. "Those are huge numbers and great news."
Doctors are still warning that there is not a lot of data on this vaccine, including how long it lasts or how serious any side effects are.
"They still have to get through another hurdle of safety data," Dr. Saul says. "So, they gave the second shot, and now they have to have no significant safety events for at least two weeks."
That's where Pfizer's lab in Groton comes in— their job is to research how safe the vaccine is.
Dr. Gottschall says that will be critical, as trust is an issue.
"I've heard trepidation from friends," he says. "I've heard trepidation from patients. I've heard trepidation from families."
A Data Haven survey found 20% of Connecticut residents don't plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine and 17% percent said they're "not sure."
Other Connecticut companies, such as Protein Sciences in Meriden, are also working on a vaccine.
Medical workers will get the first doses of this vaccine if it comes to market, as well as those most at risk.
Dr. Saul says, "Health care workers, seniors citizens, people with co-morbid illnesses. And then it'll trickle its way down through the rest of the healthy population."
Connecticut has a draft plan to distribute a vaccine. It lays out a distribution network of hospitals and clinics. The plan can be read here.