"Very encouraging, with a capital 'E,'" said Dr. John Mellors, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Pitt and UPMC.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – U.S. drugmaker Pfizer announced Monday that the human trials show its vaccine is 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections in people who never had the virus.

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These results came from phase 3 of trials.

“Very encouraging, with a capital ‘E,'” Dr. John Mellors, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Pitt and UPMC, said of the news. He said it’s still early though: “it’s the first quarter, in football analogy.”

The pharmaceutical giant says it will be applying for emergency use authorization from the FDA as final data shows the vaccine is safe.

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“The thing that’s most encouraging so far is that there don’t seem to be serious adverse reactions,” said Dr. John Mellors. “I’ve felt all along that vaccines would be effective, but the real question would be how often are there serious adverse effects?”

Dr. Mellors anticipates a vaccine being ready by the first quarter of 2021. If the vaccine is approved, patients will have to get two shots. The second shot would come 21 days after the first.

“Ninety percent’s great. Let’s hope that holds up,” says Dr. Mellors. “It would be a real gamechanger for preventing further spread. It’s going to be a while, though, it’s not going to be a simple matter of distributing the vaccine to a couple hundred million people, and we’re going to have to look at safety carefully over the next several months as we vaccinate the population.”

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