While medical experts and virologists have praised the breakthrough from Pfizer in the race for a Covid-19 vaccine some have questioned the viability of its distribution as it requires storage at -70 degrees Celsius.
Dr Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health, University of Southampton, said that this “is not necessarily routinely available in most health centres even in the UK, let alone globally.”
Dr Head commented: “This cautiously sounds like an excellent result from the phase 3 trials, but we should remain a little cautious. The provisional findings are made available in a press release, and the study is ongoing. However, if the final results show an effectiveness of anywhere near 90% with response in elderly and ethnic minority populations, that is an excellent result for a first generation vaccine.
This has been seen before – the rapidly-produced Ebola vaccine generated very high levels of effectiveness and exceeded all expectations. Equally, billions of dollars and numerous clinical trials have struggled to produce any form of vaccination against HIV. Science can be unpredictable.
“If this Pfizer vaccine candidate is licensed, there will be difficulties around logistics and distribution. It has been reported that the vaccine requires storage at -70 degrees centigrade, and that is not necessarily routinely available in most health centres even in the UK, let alone globally.”