Also on Monday, Gov. Justice took time to celebrate that early reports on a COVID-19 vaccine, currently being developed by pharmaceutical company Pfizer, indicate that the vaccine may be performing better than expected.
According to Pfizer, the vaccine proved to be effective in more than 90% of the first 94 test subjects who were infected with the coronavirus, vastly exceeding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s minimum expectation of 50% efficacy for a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Let’s just hope and pray that this is the right news, because this could be the biggest announcement that we have ever had in our lifetime,” Gov. Justice said. “If we have a vaccine that will work at a level greater than 90%, it is unbelievable to think that has been pulled off in the timespan it has taken to make this a reality.
“If this is above 90%, this will enable us to eradicate COVID-19, just like we did with smallpox,” Gov. Justice continued. “This is an incredible announcement. It has the stock market going crazy to the upside. They think they will have this vaccine very soon, especially for our most vulnerable.
“We’ve got to be absolutely thankful to God above if it’s a reality, and everybody seems to think it’s just that. It’s a testament to great American ingenuity, science, and all the goodness that we have.”
In a press release announcing the early results, Pfizer said that the clinical trial will continue through to final analysis at 164 confirmed cases in order to collect further data and characterize the vaccine candidate’s performance against other study endpoints. The release added that Submission for Emergency Use Authorization to the FDA is planned for soon after the required safety milestone is achieved, which is currently expected to occur in the third week of November.
“How do we bridge the gap between now and, hopefully, when this vaccine becomes a reality? We’ve got to get tested, we absolutely have to wear our masks, and we have to continue to practice proper social distancing,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s really tough and frustrating. But, for crying out loud, we’re so close now. Please, West Virginia, you’ve got to buckle up, you’ve got to try really hard.”