LOS ANGELES - Longtime journalist Ray Richmond has been one of 44,000 volunteers in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial. He tells FOX 11, "It’s wonderful to see that I’m in a significant trial that seems to be working."
Richmond is pleased with the report from Pfizer that their vaccine has shown a 90% effectiveness rate.
He says, "We can’t do masking and social distancing for the rest of our lives. We need something that’s going to get us back to normal."
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To him, a vaccine is that "something" and it’s good news that Pfizer is reporting a 90% effectiveness rate, but what does that mean? To be clear, the company say 90% of those in a small batch of their vaccine trial group - about 94 people who were taking the vaccine as opposed to the placebo - did not get the disease in the wild, although others did.
Dr. Matthew Waxman at UCLA explains it this way: "In the vaccine, group 9 of them got coronavirus but the rest of them did not so that was good. That’s actually a very small number... it’s 94 minus 9 so it's a small number."
But, that does equal the 90% being reported by the big pharmaceutical company. Ray Richmond had some kind of reaction after his second vaccine injection although he doesn’t know what that was.
He explains "... I had a fairly severe reaction. Muscle aches, fatigue...some really significant stomach discomfort so either I got the real thing or I’m a head case and psychosomatic."
Nonetheless, Dr. Waxman says what Pfizer’s reporting is significant. He says, "That is a big success. That’s absolutely right. It prevented coronavirus in 90% of the people that got the vaccine."
Here's the latest from the big pharmaceutical company:
- So far, there have been no safety issues.
- And, because trial volunteers haven’t been studied for very long it’s unclear how long the vaccine’s protection may last.
As for Richmond, he’s hoping he’s in the vaccine group as opposed to the placebo one.
He says, "If I’m on the vaccine it means purportedly, I have a 90% chance of being protected and that I have anti-bodies that will prevent me from getting COVID."
If on a placebo, he says Pfizer will tell him about four to six months from now, "And, they’ll actually have to give me the vaccine."
The Bottomline for Richmond?
"Seeing this 90% makes me feel like 'Wow, this thing is really going to work.'" he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Waxman says Pfizer still needs more time to determine any other side effects.
He says, "We’re going to need two or three more months according to the trial sponsors to get more data on that... but we’re getting closer to the finish line."
But, there are other companies trying to get to the finish line as well with their trials. Moderna says it could seek regulatory approval for wider use of their shots in late November. And, In Britain, AstraZeneca recently said it hopes to prove its vaccine effective by the end of the year.