Pfizer Updates the Public on COVID-19 Vaccine

By Thomas Price Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The need and incredible race for an efficacious vaccine that will protect people against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has never been at a higher fever pitch. With well over 1 million deaths worldwide, the many different vaccine candidates have been trying to move through the arduous but necessary phased trials process it takes to get approved. Of the leaders, however, Pfizer has pulled slightly ahead of the rest of the pack. With results for their latest clinical trials getting closer to be released and the company’s recently addressing the public on their third business quarter, here are the updates on the state of a vaccine and of Pfizer itself.

Updates on the Vaccine Front

For Pfizer, the vaccine that they have developed with the German company, BioNTech SE, has moved closer to reaching results and conclusions which could seriously move along the timeline for a viable path forward after the COVID-19 pandemic. In the updates given by the company, Pfizer announced that 36,000 of the volunteers taking part in their trial have already received the second dose of their vaccine, which works in a two-dose process. In the meantime, Pfizer also announced that they had enrolled 42,000 more volunteers for late-stage clinical trials. This is an expanded group from their initial goal of 30,000 volunteers at the beginning of Phase 3. Because of the 12,000 extra volunteers enrolled in the trial, Pfizer has been able to expand the diversity of the participants in order to get a broader range of the populace. This includes people as young as 12 years old and people with preexisting conditions such as stable HIV, hepatitis C, and hepatitis B.

Analysis will occur on the vaccine as soon as the threshold to trigger it is reached. Once the threshold of 32 infections is passed, an independent panel will immediately begin to start studying the data. From there, it would take five to seven days for Pfizer to publicly release the data. After that happens, if the data and results are promising, Pfizer will then apply for approval from the FDA in order to administer the vaccine under “emergency use” until it is fully approved for widespread dispersal. While the updates on the vaccine for Pfizer may be optimistic, it is unlikely it will be ready for even emergency use until the end of November. At the same time, Pfizer posted a lackluster but solid quarterly report.

Pfizer’s Quarterly Report

Pfizer’s quarterly report mainly fell flat with investors despite no major losses or poor future outlooks. Sales in the third quarter for Pfizer dropped by 4.3%, translating to $12.13 billion. In the same quarter in 2019, Pfizer earned $12.68 billion in total sales. Their own sales numbers also fell short of Wall Street analysts who were predicting Pfizer to reach $12.32 billion, leading to disappointments from many investors. The drop in revenues can be partially attributed to the steep decline of revenue from their off-patent pain drug, Lyrica. This is also compounded by the $500 million worth of costs and losses associated with COVID-19. However, despite the sales falling short of expectations, Pfizer still came out above expectations on profits per share. In fact, the company made a profit of 72 cents per share, beating out the predictions of that number being at 71 cents per share. These solid profit numbers can be attributed to the lower than expected costs of operations that Pfizer has dealt with over the quarter.

Final Conclusions

Pfizer as a company has seen slight stalling in their own sales during this quarter. While this may dismay a few investors, the highlight of their update comes from their vaccine clinical trials, which have seen expanded volunteer list diversity along with raw numbers as well. Tens of thousands of volunteers have already received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, thus leading the data closer and closer to the threshold of analysis. Pfizer’s timeline still sees the emergency use request for approval from the FDA coming at the end of November. As the world watches on, the process for getting a vaccine to the public is moving nearer to major distribution.

About the Author

Headshot of Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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