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Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced Monday that its coronavirus vaccine trial was effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in 90% of previously uninfected people and did not produce any serious safety concerns.

Why it matters: Should the results bear out, it would potentially a huge breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Pfizer said it will go to the FDA by the end of the month for an emergency use authorization.

The state of play: Vice President Pence said Pfizer's breakthrough came "thanks to the public-private partnership forged by" President Trump as part of the administration's Operation Warp Speed vaccine acceleration program.

  • But while the company agreed to a $2 billion deal to help rush a successful vaccine candidate to market, it did not take any federal dollars to fund its research and development.
  • "We were never part of the Warp Speed. We have never taken any money from the U.S. government, or from anyone," Pfizer's head of vaccine research and development Dr. Kathrin Jansen told the New York Times.

By the numbers: Pfizer, who developed the vaccine with German pharmaceutical company BioNTech, says that they have enrolled "43,538 participants to date, 38,955 of whom have received a second dose of the vaccine candidate as of Nov. 8, 2020."

  • "The trial is continuing to enroll and is expected to continue through the final analysis when a total of 164 confirmed COVID-19 cases have accrued."

Worth noting, per the Times: The company "released only sparse details" from the trial, and scientists "have cautioned against hyping early results before long-term safety and efficacy data has been collected."

🎧 Go deeper: Axios Re:Cap interviews Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

Updated 23 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Los Angeles County to require vaccination proof at indoor bars — France suspends 3,000 unvaccinated health workers without pay — Moderna suggests booster shots, citing clinical data.
  2. Health: 1 in 500 Americans has died — Cases are falling, but deaths are rising — Study: Gaps in data on Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders alarming amid COVID.
  3. Politics: Gottlieb says CDC hampered U.S. response — 26 states have limited state or local officials' public health powers — Axios-Ipsos poll: 60% of voters back Biden vaccine mandates.
  4. Education: Denver looks to students to close Latino vaccination gap — Federal judge temporarily blocks Iowa's ban on mask mandates in schools — Massachusetts activates National Guard to help with school transportation.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.