Lowcountry doctor weighs in on ‘hopeful’ Pfizer preliminary results


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – With multiple companies in phase 3 trials for a COVID-19 vaccine, one company is proving theirs is farther ahead than others through newly released preliminary data. With a 90 % efficacy in preventing the contraction of SARS-COV2, Lowcountry doctors said while they are excited and hopeful for Pfizer’s results, they also understand that more has to be done in terms of the study. 

Despite the 44,000 individuals already participating in the trial, Dr. Robert Oliverio, the Chief Medical Officer of Ambulatory Care and Population Health for Roper St. Francis, said more are needed for the company to reach the FDA regulated number 164 infections. Pfizer’s phase 3 trial currently stands at 94 cases.

Nonetheless, Dr. Oliverio said the vaccine’s numbers are remarkable.

Based on preliminary information, very low adverse effects and the remarkable thing—again and this is the lead, is basically the 90% efficacy. Which is remarkable for a vaccine, and particularly remarkable for a vaccine that was developed this quickly. You know we just don’t see those kinds of numbers in vaccines.

Dr. Robert Oliverio, CMO Ambulatory Care Roper St. Francis. 

Dr. Oliverio said, due to Operation Warp Speed, the biggest difference for all pharmaceutical companies participating in the COVID-19 vaccine race is that all have begun manufacturing despite no approval for distribution.

This means that ultimately, when approved, there will be more vials available of the vaccine when given the green light by the FDA.

As for the plan for distribution, Dr. Oliverio said he believes it’s still going to have to be a step-wise roll out. In other words, it will be given out on a priority basis with those most at risk and in healthcare receiving the vaccine first. 

Working sort of generally in the workforce, you may not have access to a vaccine for several months after it’s released. But that’s the way this is going to go. Hopefully we’ll be able to get everybody vaccinated sometime in the fall, that would be great.  

Dr. Robert Oliverio, CMO ambulatory care roper st. Francis. 

Dr. Oliverio said that until a vaccine is rolled out to the general public and herd immunity is accomplished through vaccinations, make sure that you are still wearing your mask, social distancing when able to, and avoiding large indoor gatherings.

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