By Christina Hager

BOSTON (CBS) – Pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced its coronavirus vaccine is 90% effective. The company announced the development as cases soar nationwide.

“The greatest medical advance in the last hundred years,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. “It’s a very important day for humanity,” he said as the company announced its potential coronavirus vaccine has proven to be more than 90% effective in trials.

“That really hits the mark,” said Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, the Director of the infectious diseases division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “The FDA had set a minimum benchmark of 50% for even considering the possibility of approving the vaccine. This is 90%, that’s really good.”

In Boston’s Copley Square, people smiled at the news, under their masks. “A little glimmer of light at the end of a long tunnel,” said Alice Stone. “I look forward to this working, and mostly I look forward to having it be free and available for everyone,” said Linda Schwabe.

READ: Dr. Mallika Marshall On Coronavirus Vaccine

Bourla said it would be available for free in the United States. First, the drug maker has to collect two more months of safety data. That puts Pfizer at the third week of November before it can apply for emergency use authorization from the federal government.

A couple weeks ago, the Cambridge-based biotech company Moderna announced it’s on a similar timetable, ready to ship doses by the end of the year if the FDA allows.

Experts say the phased-in roll-out could take a full year, and some public persuasion. “A lot of people I’ve talked to are not comfortable,” said Stephen Campbell, of Jamaica Plain. “They don’t trust that it’s going to protect them from the coronavirus, and a lot of people feel like it’ll end up hurting them for the long term.”

“We really need a massive education campaign about COVID-19 Vaccination, and why everybody should get a vaccine once the FDA says it’s OK to do so,” said Dr. Kuritzkes.

Christina Hager

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