PROVIDENCE, RI—The biopharmaceutical company Pfizer has announced its U.S. COVID-19 Immunization Pilot Program with four states, including Rhode Island, Texas, New Mexico, and Tennessee, which will help prepare states for the potential distribution of the company's coronavirus vaccine candidate that is being co-developed with BioNTech.
According to statement from Pfizer released on Monday, the states were selected for the program because of their differences in size, diversity of populations, immunization infrastructure, and need to reach individuals in varied urban and rural settings.
Although the four participating states will not receive the vaccine earlier than other states, they will have an opportunity to prepare their communities for potential distribution in the future.
"To build on our coordination with the relevant U.S. agencies, Pfizer launched this pilot program to help better support the states' planning, deployment, and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate," said the press release. "Learnings from this program will be adapted for usage across other states to help them create effective immunization programs for this vaccine."
The company has been working with U.S. officials in Operation Warp Speed (OWS) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help ensure that if or when the vaccine is approved, it can be distributed efficiently. According to an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense, the goal would be to begin delivering 300 million doses of the vaccine in 2021.
“This pilot program and our collaboration with U.S. and state officials will help us prepare for broader vaccine deployment in the near future, subject to authorization or approval, as we work to address this urgent public health need,” said Angela Hwang, Group President of the Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group. “We are hopeful that results from this vaccine delivery pilot will serve as the model for other U.S. states and international governments, as they prepare to implement effective COVID-19 vaccine programs.”
The vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech currently has a 90% efficacy rate based on an analysis conducted on November 8.