Governor Baker provides Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine update

Coronavirus Local Impact

ANDOVER, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito visited Pfizer Inc., a pharmaceutical company, in Andover Thursday.

Governor Baker joined with Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Pfizer Andover Site Leader Jon Tucker and Pfizer VP of Worldwide Research & Development Dr. Meg Ruesch.

Officials provided an update on Pfizer’s COVID vaccine program at around 10:00 a.m.

The experimental vaccine, developed by Fauci’s colleagues at the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., will start its most important step around July 27: A 30,000-person study to prove if the shots really are strong enough to protect against the coronavirus.

45 volunteers rolled up their sleeves back in March and the vaccine provided a hoped-for immune boost. The vaccine requires two doses, a month apart.

There were no serious side effects. But more than half the study participants reported flu-like reactions to the shots that aren’t uncommon with other vaccines — fatigue, headache, chills, fever and pain at the injection site. For three participants given the highest dose, those reactions were more severe; that dose isn’t being pursued.

Some of those reactions are similar to coronavirus symptoms but they’re temporary, lasting about a day and occur right after vaccination, researchers noted.

Nearly two dozen possible COVID-19 vaccines are in various stages of testing around the world. Candidates from China and Britain’s Oxford University also are entering final testing stages.

The 30,000-person study will mark the world’s largest study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine so far. And the NIH-developed shot isn’t the only one set for such massive U.S. testing, crucial to spot rare side effects. The government plans similar large studies of the Oxford candidate and another by Johnson & Johnson; separately, Pfizer Inc. is planning its own huge study.

People can sign up to volunteer for the different studies.

MAP: Pfizer in Andover, Mass.

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