CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The speed of Pfizer’s vaccine, which used Cleveland as one of its trial sites, has excited even vaccine experts.
“This is remarkable," says Dr. Thad Stappenbeck of Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute. "We’re talking eight months. We could start seeing vaccinations in the state of Ohio by the end of December. It’s unbelievable.”
The unbelievable development of the vaccine used new technology, injecting RNA into cells instead of growing the virus and inactivating it or manufacturing proteins.
“It’s literally the code for these proteins that activate your immune system," says Dr. Stappenbeck. "They just went simply with the RNA that encoded the key proteins. And it worked. That’s what’s so extraordinary. It seems to be really effective.”
Pfizer will apply for emergency use authorization in days and has already manufactured 50 million doses; half for use in the U.S., or enough for 25 million people at two shots a person, administered three weeks apart.
Pfizer says it should have 1.3 billion doses by the end of next year, available for free in the U.S. due to an almost $2 billion deal with the federal government with 10 sites in Ohio.
“The Cleveland Clinic is one of those sites and, from what I heard this morning, we have the capability to store 100,000 vials, which I also think will be very helpful as well,” says Dr. Stappenbeck.
Dr. Stappenbeck says the fight against coronavirus isn’t over until everyone’s vaccinated and encourages everyone to practice distancing and mask-wearing.
But, the vaccine news is encouraging.
“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” he says.