Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an expansion of an emergency use authorization on one of the COVID-19 vaccines allowing Americans 12-15 years of age and older to be eligible to receive the one of the COVID-19 vaccines. Following this positive news, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also recommended this expansion.
While we celebrate this milestone, we know our work is not done. Biopharmaceutical research companies continue to work around the clock so additional patient populations can be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines. For instance, testing for safety and efficacy is ongoing for patient ages 5-11, 2-5 years of age and 6 months to 2 years of age. Beyond vaccines currently authorized for use, biopharmaceutical research companies are continuing to develop different scientific approaches to vaccines, such as protein-based vaccines. Several protein-based vaccines are in advanced clinical trials with one progressing to regulatory review.
Companies are also looking ahead by researching approaches to address variants or mutations to the virus, while evaluating the efficacy of the existing vaccines against several known variants of concern. Researchers are also studying the timing of possible boosters, with the aim of being prepared for any challenges that may lie ahead.
The United States continues to lead in vaccine development and production and is estimated to reach 11 billion doses by the end of 2021, enabled by the nearly 300 partnerships and collaborations between manufacturers and stakeholders worldwide.
Biopharmaceutical companies and their partners are also determining ways to optimize the manufacturing and shipping of vaccines, such as increasing temperature control requirements. Globally, manufacturers are fully committed to providing worldwide access to COVID-19 vaccines.
To learn more, visit phrma.org/coronavirus.
Gabby Migliara is a senior manager of public affairs at PhRMA focusing on the cost and value of medicines. She previously worked with the U.S. Census Bureau on marketing and communications for the 2020 Census campaign. Outside the office, Gabby enjoys trying new restaurants, hanging with her cat and exploring DC neighborhoods.