British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the news from pharmaceutical company Pfizer that its potential vaccine showed better than 90% efficacy in Phase 3 tests. But he cautioned that a vaccine is still a long way off and that one vaccine is not a solution.
Speaking to reporters in London, Johnson said the data released Monday by Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, indicated the vaccine is safe, but the findings must be peer reviewed.
Johnson stressed these are the “very, very early days” of this vaccine search, and he compared this news to “the distant bugle of the scientific calvary coming over the brow of the hill.” The prime minister said the bugle is louder, but the calvary is still a long way off.
Johnson said the British government earlier this year ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, enough for one-third of the British population. He said they had ordered 300 million more doses from five other potential vaccines as well.
But the prime minister said if the Pfizer vaccine proves effective and passes all appropriate safety checks, then the government will begin a nationwide vaccine distribution program administered by the National Health Service.
Johnson was also asked about the results of the U.S. election being called for Joe Biden, with Kamala Harris as his vice president-elect. He congratulated the two Democrats and said while his government has had a good relationship with the Trump administration, he has no doubt that will continue under Biden.
Johnson said he was particularly excited to work with the incoming administration in their efforts to fight climate change.