Last week, some Americans began receiving their first dose of BNT162b2, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer (PFE 1.09%) and BioNTech (BNTX 2.02%). Soon after the vaccine began shipping, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla wrote an open letter to the public. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on Dec. 16, 2020, healthcare and cannabis bureau chief Corinne Cardina and Fool.com writer Keith Speights discuss what Pfizer wants you to know about its COVID-19 vaccine.
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Corinne Cardina: Pfizer's CEO actually wrote an open letter yesterday. This is not new, he's written a few open letters over the past few months. But what does he want the public to know right now?
Keith Speights: I think really, what Pfizer CEO is wanting the public to know is that things are going along as planned. Do you have his quote, Corinne? I was trying to pull his quote up that he said, a little snippet from that letter. Maybe you can read that for our viewers.
Corinne Cardina: Sure. He said, "In the US, we expect to get our vaccine from our manufacturing facilities to any point of vaccination within two days. We know our approach works because throughout our Phase 3 study, we successfully delivered our vaccine to more than 44,000 people at 150 clinical trial sites and six countries across 39 US states."
Keith Speights: There you go. The numbers are the numbers. I think what Albert Bourla, who is Pfizer's CEO, is just trying to convey is that Pfizer is doing everything it can to get this vaccine out as quickly as possible to as many people as possible. I think that's what they're doing. I think that's exactly what the US government is doing, and other governments are doing where the vaccine has already won authorization.
There's a little bit of controversy about should Pfizer CEO actually receive his own vaccine. I think he's taking the right stance on that issue as well. He's saying, "Look, I'll be happy to receive it. I don't want to cut in line ahead of others who need to get it before I do." Personally, I think that's the right stance. Some people might prefer that the CEOs of companies that are making the vaccines take that public stance and then make that public gesture. But I think what Pfizer CEO is doing is probably the right thing to do.
Corinne Cardina: I understand that inclination to want to see these CEOs eating their own cooking, so to say. But at the same time, of course, they don't want to be seen as getting preferential treatment either.
Keith Speights: Yeah. They're going to be slammed probably regardless of what they do.
Corinne Cardina: Exactly.
Keith Speights: I think he's making the right call in this case.
Corinne Cardina: Totally. Another thing you mentioned in his open letter is related to that cold storage. He discusses how they have engineered temperature-controlled shipping containers, he discusses that the vaccines can be sold at regular refrigerator temperatures for five days once they're out of the shippers so I think he's trying to alleviate some of the concern about the ultra-cold storage as well.
Keith Speights: Right. Pfizer, I think, has taken the steps that they can take at this point to alleviate those issues as much as possible. Sure, there are still some challenges involved, but I think they are things that can be worked around, and I think that's what we're seeing happening so far this week and will probably continue into the coming weeks.