BALTIMORE, md. — It was May 5 when volunteer David Rach became the first person to be injected in the trial of Pfizer’s vaccine candidate at the University of Maryland School of Medicine Center for Vaccine Development in Baltimore.
Now, six months later comes word that the vaccine appears to be 90 percent effective.
Dr. Kathleen Neuzel served as lead researcher on the phase two trial of the Pfizer vaccine in Maryland. She says the Pfizer news is better than expected, “I am smiling. I think humanity is definitely better off today.”
Dr. Neuzel says while the science behind the phase three trial which determined the 90 percent level of effectiveness must be published and studied it appears the COVID vaccine works very well.
“This is incredibly significant,” says Dr. Neuzel, “If we look at other respiratory virus vaccines such as influenza, we’re just not used to seeing this degree of efficacy.”
Dr. Boris Lushniak is Dean of the University of Maryland School of public health and former US surgeon general. He too is encouraged by the results. He says, “90% is on par with like the best vaccines that we have, like the measles vaccine we’ve used forever.”
He also cautions that it will be months before any vaccine can begin to control the virus in the population at large. He continues to stress the need to mask, distance, and wash.
“Those three components are still going to be critical for the short and intermediate run until this vaccine is out and until it proves itself,” says Lushniak.
Vaccine trial volunteer David Rach is also reacting today. He says, “I’m excited and a little relieved. I was hopeful this would be the response but would not say it was guaranteed. I’m also proud to have been a small contributor to the process by rolling up my sleeve.”
The University of Maryland is also still seeking volunteers for two more vaccine studies involving the pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Novavax. If you’d like to volunteer go to cvdtrials.org.
This story was originally published by Brad Bell and WJLA.