If the COVID-19 vaccine that American drugmaker Pfizer and German biotech company BioNTech SE are developing proves safe and effective, the CNMI won’t be left in the cold, according to Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther Muña.
At the same time, she cautioned that it requires a lot more time to be sure that the vaccine works. For now, CHCC is learning more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It does require a lot more time to be sure. …It is a process that has to go through. So while there may be a breakthrough [if] this works and people have been tested to see if the vaccine works, it does require more time,” said Muna in a radio briefing last July 24.
She added that the vaccine could be available later this year or early next year and that the U.S. government has already allocated $1.95 billion to pay for 100 million doses of the experimental vaccine.
As for the CNMI’s testing capabilities, Warren Villagomez, who chairs the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, says that they still have 40,000-plus test kits. Assuming that the CNMI received 60,000 test kits in all and with the CHCC’s dashboard showing a total of 12,745 test that have been used, this would mean that there is a total of 47,255 test kits that are still available.
Saipan Tribune learned that Pfizer has become the second drugmaker to announce that it has begun Phase 3 testing of a vaccine that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Pfizer, along with BioNTech, just announced the beginning of human trials, which involves 30,000 patients in 39 U.S. states.
“Many steps have been taken toward this important milestone, and we would like to thank all those involved for their extraordinary commitment,” said Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, according to media reports.
Additionally, about 25 COVID-19 vaccines around the world are in the clinical testing phase, according to the World Health Organization.