Pfizer will likely have millions of coronavirus vaccine doses ready by the end of 2020 — and the company’s CEO is willing to be one of the first to take it.
The Manhattan-based drugmaker expects to churn out up to 50 million doses of the shot globally this year and is in “a very, very good situation” to have 1.3 billion doses on hand by the end of 2021, chief executive Albert Bourla told CNN on Monday.
Pfizer offered its latest manufacturing estimates as it announced the vaccine it’s developing with German biotech firm BioNTech was more than 90 percent effective in a late-stage clinical trial. That high efficacy rate is a “game-changer,” according to Bourla, who said he wants to take the shot early to show the public that it’s safe.
“I would like very much to get it among the first to demonstrate to the world that I am the first one,” Bourla, who is in his late 50s, told CNBC.
“We need to see some ethical considerations — for example, if we have a limited number of doses I don’t know if the government will recommend people of my age … or work capacity to be among the first to get the vaccine, so I want to respect that,” he added. “But I will try to convince them.”
Pfizer and other pharmaceutical firms could face an uphill battle in convincing the public to receive a newly developed vaccine, which is considered crucial to ending the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
A Pew Research Center survey published in September showed that about half of American adults would not take a shot to prevent the coronavirus if it were currently available, while the share of people saying they would get vaccinated dropped to 51 percent from 72 percent in May.
Pfizer said Monday that no safety concerns had emerged from its vaccine study involving more than 43,000 people. The company — which could seek emergency approval for the shot later this month — is also generating data to show the vaccine can be consistently manufactured to meet quality standards, Bourla said.
Some of the 1.3 billion vaccine doses Pfizer expects to produce could be distributed in the US, where the Trump administration placed a $2 billion order for 100 million doses back in July.