Australia Early Pfizer deal would have saved up to 150 lives and ended lockdowns earlier
Pfizer raises 2021 outlook on surging Covid-19 vaccine sales
Pfizer lifted its annual revenue and profit projections Wednesday as it forecast the delivery of 500 million more Covid-19 vaccine doses compared with earlier expectations. The two-shot inoculation accounted for more than 40 percent of Pfizer's sales in the second quarter, lifting revenues sharply compared with the year-ago period. Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said more than a billion doses of the vaccine have been delivered, saying "theThe two-shot inoculation accounted for more than 40 percent of Pfizer's sales in the second quarter, lifting revenues sharply compared with the year-ago period.
Emails released under freedom of information laws showed Health Ministerfor COVID-19 vaccines until months after he was first contacted by the company’s representatives on June 30.
They suggested Australia act fast, with millions of doses to be available at the end of the year. But in a “not a race” approach, Australia didn’t sign a deal until November, five months later.
Had Australia secured a deal in July — when the UK finalised its — what impact would it have had? Modelling by Monash University adjunct professor Michael Georgeff, a mathematician and leading Australian expert on artificial intelligence and health technology, shows New South Wales would be coming out of lockdown with more than 100 lives saved.
Bombshell emails show Pfizer tried to meet Health Minister Greg Hunt
On June 30 a Pfizer representative contacted the Health Department to request the meeting, saying the American company had 'the potential to supply millions vaccine doses by the end of 2020'.On June 30 last year a Pfizer representative contacted the Health Department to request the meeting, saying the American company had 'the potential to supply millions of vaccine doses [around the world] by the end of 2020'.
What are the assumptions?
Georgeff modelled two scenarios. In the first, he assumed 10 million extra Pfizer doses would have arrived and been split across states based on population, with 32% distributed to NSW. Assuming all doses were administered by the beginning of August, he found by the end of August the reproductive rate of the Delta variant — how many people the average infected person spreads the virus to — would have dropped to less than one.
“The model shows we would end up with about 20% of the cases that NSW has had to date without Pfizer — an 80% reduction,” he said.
“The NSW lockdown would still have been necessary but daily cases would have never exceeded 150 per day and total cases to September 8 would be about 6000 instead of 32,000.”
Karl Stefanovic slams health minister Greg Hunt over Pfizer fiasco
Karl Stefanovic accused the federal health minister of 'dragging his feet' in a fiery interview on the Today show over the Pfizer fiasco which saw Australia sign its deal long after the US and UK. Bombshell leaked emails revealed Pfizer asked to meet Mr Hunt early last year to offer Australia doses of its vaccine, but he instead sent a public servant in his place.On June 30 last year a Pfizer representative contacted the Health Department to request the meeting, saying the American company had 'the potential to supply millions of vaccine doses [around the world] by the end of 2020'.
Aboutwho caught COVID since the June outbreak have been admitted to hospital, about 20% of whom end up in ICU.
If Pfizer had been available, hospitalisations would be about 80% less than now, with fewer than 600 people hospitalised instead of 3000. Because of the difference in efficacy between AstraZeneca and Pfizer at preventing serious illness, these numbers would probably have dropped slightly further. The model doesn’t look at differences in age groups.
About 120 patients would have ended up in ICU instead of more than 500.
Deaths too would have dropped. There have been 222 deaths from the 43,779 cases, meaning fatality is at 0.47% in this latest outbreak.
“Under the modelling and with the assumptions made, the lack of Pfizer has resulted in up to 150 needless deaths to date,” Georgeff said.
Even if Pfizer uptake was slower and all doses were in arms by the beginning of September, case numbers and hospitalisations would have dropped by 65% and 120 lives saved.
Secret vaccine doses for NSW? Well, not exactly
NSW has been given more COVID-19 vaccines than Victoria, but claims of clandestine deals look off the mark.This was the case on Tuesday, when Premier Daniel Andrews delivered an acid-tongued rebuke of the Commonwealth for what he called "secret … under the table" deals to provide more Pfizer vials to NSW, which is now weeks ahead of Victoria in its rollout. His office later demanded 340,000 Pfizer doses to make up Victoria's shortfall.
Applying the model to Victoria showed it wouldn’t have escaped its sixth lockdown, but it would have ended now with a similar reduction in infections and hospitalisations. There is a chance limited infections in NSW would have meant the Victorian outbreak may have never happened.
Monash University epidemiologist James Trauer looked at the modelling and says the assumptions stacked up.
“These seem reasonable or even conservative,” he said. “It is likely that Pfizer has a greater effect on onward transmission and is likely to substantially reduce the reproduction number for those who receive the vaccine.”
Most if not all the nine people who died in Victoria may have even been spared, he says, with at-risk people vaccinated before the outbreak hit. But the modelling did not take into account restrictions being eased earlier in response to the lower infection rates, which could have caused a surge.
“The flattening of Sydney’s epidemic recently and the failure of the virus to take hold in several intermediate-risk settings (like regional towns in NSW and Victoria) is attributable to protection through vaccination,” he said.
“We missed an incredible opportunity to be protected before these outbreaks occurred, which would have averted the need for these most recent lockdowns. They are really the lockdowns we didn’t have to have.”
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Kids under 12 could get Pfizer COVID vaccine before the end of the year depending on TGA application .
Australian kids aged between five and 11 could get a COVID vaccine jab this year, depending on when and if Pfizer makes an application to the nation's medical regulator, Chief Nursing Officer Alison McMillan says.Australian kids aged between five and 11 could get a COVID vaccine jab this year, depending on when and if Pfizer makes an application to the nation's medical regulator.