COVID vaccinations will allow the world to achieve group immunity but very unevenly, given that the United States could achieve this in the second quarter of 2021, but Europe would have to wait a few months and Latin America for almost another year, experts from the pharmaceutical industry warned this Tuesday.
These calculations, presented by the analysis company Airfinity at a press conference of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Producers (IFPMA), show that while in the West that immunity could be achieved in 2021, in other regions it would even be necessary to wait until 2023.
Although the CEO of Airfinity, Rasmus Bech Hansen, clarified that the forecasts could change depending on the effectiveness of future vaccines, for now they conclude that The US will be the first place where group immunity will be achieved, followed by Canada, also in the second quarter of next year.
It would be followed by the United Kingdom (where the immunization campaign with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines began today), in mid-2021, and the European Union (EU) in the third quarter, while Australia would have to wait until the end of next exercise.
Already in 2022, Latin America would achieve group immunity at the end of the first quarter, Japan at the beginning of the second and China, the origin of the first cases of COVID-19, would not get it until the third quarter of that year.
The prospects are even less rosy for India, a country that despite being one of the main producers of vaccines for various diseases, may not achieve that desired immunity until the first quarter of 2023, while Russia will still have to wait until later.
«One of the great challenges will be the production of huge doses of vaccines’, stressed the head of Airfinity, a firm that supplies data to pharmaceutical companies and governments.
The press conference was also attended by Albert Bourla, president and CEO of Pfizer, who underlined the enormous scientific progress achieved this year by obtaining vaccines against an unknown disease a year ago in just nine months.
“Only science could have achieved something so quickly, an achievement that also demonstrates the power of the private sector,” said the Greek businessman, who praised in particular “the work of so many scientists who have spent many sleepless nights for months” and the altruism of so many volunteers who participated in the trials.
Given the misgivings that such rapidly developed vaccines still generate in many citizens around the world, Bourla said he understood that there is concern, but assured that part of that skepticism “has been seriously politicized, especially in the United States.”
This politicization “makes people confused and not discussed in scientific terms,” said the head of Pfizer, who assured that his firm, which has invested 2 billion dollars in anticovid vaccine research, It has “not taken any shortcuts” in the development of this product.
«We have carried out the tests in the same way as we develop older vaccines, even using higher standards. We were extremely transparent with the regulators and very careful “, stressed Bourla, who appealed to the public to make the decision of whether to get vaccinated or not with the rest of society in mind.
To the race
The vice president of Johnson & Johnson, Paul Stoffels, also spoke at the press conference, saying that the final results of the trials of the anticovid vaccine developed by the company will be ready in early 2021 He also insisted on the great attention that has been paid to safety.
Experts from the pharmaceutical industry stressed that there are already procurement contracts in the world for around 10 billion anticovid vaccines.
A figure that exceeds that of the world population (about 7,800 million people), although many of these vaccines will require two doses per patient and it is still unknown whether it will be necessary to immunize more than once in a lifetime.
Laboratories around the world they are currently investigating 350 candidates for an anticovid vaccine different and a dozen of them are in the last phase of clinical trials.
It is expected that after the first batch of pharmaceutical companies that have presented definitive results (Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca …) there will also be final data from other important candidates such as those of Sanofi / GSK, Themis / Merck and the Australian University from Queensland before the end of this year.
“Preliminary results are fantastic but there will be bumps in the road when it comes to mass production and distribution,” predicted IFPMA CEO Thomas Cueni, underlining that because of this, research will continue to be vital and testing of treatments and diagnoses against COVID-19