Local doctor says multiple companies will need to manufacture vaccines to end the pandemic

Pfizer says that Phase III of their trial shows its vaccine is 95-percent effective.

Now, the race is on to get the final emergency FDA approval and, eventually, the vaccine out to the public.

The announcement could not have come at a better time with the U.S. reporting over 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 each day over the last two weeks. 

“I think the real issue is going to be manufacturing the vaccine,” said Dr. Richard Novak from UIC Health.

Despite this promising news from Pfizer, Dr. Novak says more companies will also need to manufacture vaccines to end the pandemic.

“I think second quarter of next year would be most realistic for when it's widely available. Again, I think it's key that we start studying other vaccine products,” said Dr. Novak.


He says if you want a shot at getting vaccine earlier than the spring, you can consider participating in UIC's upcoming Phase III trial of a Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“I think there are opportunities for Chicagoans to participate in this study and it'd be one way they could get access to a vaccine earlier - although it's a placebo-controlled trial,” said Dr. Novak.

For now, Pfizer says it’s vaccine is 95 percent effective across all age groups, all races and all ethnicities. 

“We still need a majority of people to get the vaccine in order to reach herd immunity. As long as we can show the public that the vaccine is safe and the vaccine is effective, then I think people will voluntarily get that vaccine,” said Natasha Bhuyan, M.D.

Dr. Novak says he expects the FDA to fast-track that approval and also adds that he wouldn't be surprised to see a similar announcement from Moderna in the coming days or weeks.