Pfizer CEO says he would take it first to ease public concern

Albert Bourla, Pfizer

Gian Ehrenzeller | Keystone | AP

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Monday that he would like to be among the first to take a coronavirus vaccine to ease public concerns about vaccine safety.

But there are ethical considerations for that, Bourla said during an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “If we have a limited number of doses, I’m not sure if people would recommend people of my age … or work capacity to be among the first to get a vaccine. So, I want to respect that.”

That being said, Bourla, who is in his 50s, expects demand for the pharmaceutical company’s vaccine will much be “higher than anything we can produce” given how effective it is. Bourla said the company is on track to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020, and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.

“I believe this is likely the most significant medical advance in the last 100 years,” he said. “It is a great day for science. It is a great day for humanity when you realize your vaccine has 90% effectiveness. That’s overwhelming.”

The vaccine contains genetic material called messenger RNA, or mRNA, which scientists hope provokes the immune system to fight the virus.

Pfizer has been working alongside German drugmaker BioNTech on the experimental vaccine. Earlier in the day, the companies announced that their vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 among those without evidence of prior infection, hailing the development as “a great day for science and humanity.” Comparatively, the CDC says a vaccine for influenza reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% to 60% among the overall population.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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