“Of course, it would have been great if this had worked, but it was quite clear that it could at least go.” This is what Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir says about her reaction to the news that the pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer is unlikely to make a fourth phase of a study on the effectiveness of the company’s vaccine in this country.
It was hoped that such a study would ensure a large proportion of Icelanders vaccine against Covid – 19 in a much faster way than previously expected.
“We just keep going in our project which is, on the one hand, to ensure disease control, where we have of course been successful, and then to continue the task of securing vaccines for all Icelanders, “says Katrín in a conversation with Vísi.
The government did not have a direct involvement in the negotiations
There was great anticipation after the results of negotiations with Pfizer, but the company’s representatives met in the afternoon with Þórólfur Guðnason, epidemiologist, Kári Stefánsson, director of Icelandic Genetics, and Már Kristjánsson, chief physician of Landspítali’s infectious diseases department.
The conclusion of the meeting was that there were not enough coronavirus cases here to justify such an investigation. Þórólfur said shortly after today’s meeting that nothing had been ruled out yet but that the chances were very small. A formal response from Pfizer is expected in the coming days. According to Katrín, the government had no direct involvement in the negotiations, but that the ministers supported the epidemiologist and Kári in their discussions with the company.
The epidemic is a long run
“I had heard from these scientists who were on their way to this meeting and they said that it could upset both hopes, so in itself it is just as it is,” says Katrín .
Is this result disappointing?
“This epidemic is a long run, but it does not change the fact that we are just continuing our line. We have shown very good results in this so far and now we probably have one of the smallest epidemic measures in Europe. Then, of course, we are in the midst of vaccination and we are relatively high in the group in European nations, so we will just continue on the same path. “
A majority will have been vaccinated of the nation around the middle of the year
When Katrín is asked to assess Iceland’s position after this conclusion, she says that considerably better information is now available on the delivery of vaccines in the first quarter.
“I now have expectations that this will go faster in the second quarter if the pharmaceutical companies’ plans can be defined. So I stand by what I have said before that I believe we will have reached a point around the middle of the year where we will see the majority of the population vaccinated. “
Asked if she wants to try to start talks with other vaccine manufacturers, Katrín points out that this has already been done.
“It resulted in these meetings held with Pfizer and there is, as has been stated, a negligible chance of that, so we just have to see what happens next.”
It was reported before the end of the year that Þórólfur and Kári had for some time also had informal discussions with Moderna about conducting a similar study. Kári said in a conversation with the news agency shortly after today’s meeting that he does not expect to pick up the thread with other producers. There would be the same argument as with Pfizer, that there are too few infections in this country.
The news has been updated.