Pfizer says its coronavirus vaccine works


It's a big day: Pfizer just said that its vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, an incredibly important milestone in confronting the pandemic. Pfizer and its partner BioNTech are the first to report results on how effective a vaccine is, and it's sending Pfizer's stock — and markets more broadly — soaring.

That initial effectiveness from Pfizer is much higher than experts had anticipated, Andrew Dunn reminds us. They had hoped for anything above 70% effective.

Should the vaccine get authorized, distribution could largely occur under President-elect Joe Biden, and experts say rollout could be smoother as part of a Biden administration.

Also in healthcare news: Why you shouldn't expect a public option any time soon and an FDA advisory committee recommends the agency reject Biogen's Alzheimer's drug.

A 16-year-old participates in Pfizer's clinical trial to test its coronavirus vaccine candidate.Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Pfizer says its coronavirus vaccine helps prevent COVID-19, marking a milestone in the fight against the pandemic

  • Pfizer's experimental coronavirus vaccine succeeded in the final stage of clinical trials, the drugmaker said Monday, a milestone in society's fight against the pandemic.
  • The study found people who got Pfizer's shot were less likely to develop COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The drugmaker said the shot was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19.
  • The trial is still ongoing, and the interim results have not been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
  • The vaccine will not be available to people immediately. It still needs to be evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Read the full story from Andrew Dunn here>>

President-elect Joe Biden.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden made his presidential campaign all about healthcare. Just don't expect a public option anytime soon.

  • Democrats made the 2020 election all about healthcare, and are prepared to expand the Affordable Care Act.
  • The Senate races aren't over yet, but Republicans' apparent hold on the upper chamber would create an insurmountable hurdle to Democrats' most ambitious healthcare goals.
  • There's still trouble ahead even if Democrats win control of the Senate. Members don't agree about how to create a government plan that would compete with private insurance — a key promise by President-elect Joe Biden.

Read the full story from Kimberly Leonard here>>

An influential group of health experts rejects Biogen's experimental Alzheimer's drug, casting substantial doubt over the drug's chances of approval

  • The chances of the first new Alzheimer's drug in nearly 20 years reaching the market received a major blow on Friday.
  • An independent group of experts convened by the US Food and Drug Administration predominantly disputed the idea that there's enough evidence to show Biogen's drug aducanumab is effective or approvable.
  • The panel's negative recommendations on aducanumab stand in stark contrast to the FDA's own position.
  • While the committee's recommendations were clearly negative, the FDA will make the final call on approval. The agency aims to make a decision by March 7, 2021 at the latest.

Read the full story from Andrew Dunn here>>

More stories we're reading:

  • Biden's presidency could bring a smoother vaccine rollout and an overall decline in coronavirus cases, experts say (Business Insider)
  • Millions of minks have been killed since June because they can pass the coronavirus to people. But fears of a mutated strain are overblown. (Business Insider)
  • Hundreds of Wisconsin healthcare workers have been sidelined with infections or exposures (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) 
  • People with developmental disabilities in Arizona face delays and denials (ProPublica)
  • LISTEN: Business Insider's Kimberly Leonard discusses health policy after the 2020 election (Health Affairs)

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– Lydia

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