But whether that means we can all get back to normal life by early 2021 is less certain. When COVID-19 hit the world smack in the face in the first quarter of 2020, we were short of hospitals, beds, ventilators, oxygen, etc. "Whenever the regulatory approvals for the vaccines are provided, we have a plan that would ensure that the vaccines would be available to all priority population groups, irrespective of the region where they reside", he clarified.
"It was possible that the virus isn't really targeted by the vaccine, finds its way into the cells and continues to make people ill".
One benefit of this tactic is that it removes the need to expose people to the whole virus when vaccinating them, and so should be safer. The company reported its data monitors had counted 94 infections so far, and that among those initial cases, the vaccine appeared 90 per cent effective. The trials are double-blinded, that is neither the company nor study investigators know which participants received the vaccine or a placebo.
If Pfizer's analysis is accurate - and it has yet to produce official scientific documentation - the new vaccine would offer a level of protection equal to that of highly effective vaccines for diseases such as measles.
"It's understandable that there are these local adverse effects because this is a great vaccine, but we're still looking at ways of lowering that because we prefer a vaccine that gives no people a sore arm", he said.
"This accelerates the review process while at the same time preserving the same level of careful checking of all requirements relating to safety, efficacy and quality".
"We'll break them down into the smaller quantities and then drive them to the provider", said Molly Howell, the state's immunization director.
It might be that COVID-19 vaccines based on more tried-and-tested methods - such as Valneva's, which uses a whole, killed version of the virus - end up being the ones that work best. "It's very likely that it will have to be disseminated at mass vaccination clinics where they have the appropriate devices for storing the vaccine".
We also don't know how long immunity provided by these vaccines will last.
"It is important to understand that the end of the battle against COVID-19 is still months away", Biden said in a statement.
In 2005, Weissman and his Penn research partner at the timeKatalin Karikó discovered that by modifying RNA using a naturally occurring modified nucleoside, they could reduce the inflammatory potential of the RNA and induce a much higher production of antigenic protein, a key feature of a successful vaccine.
That said, antibodies are probably not the whole answer to the body's response to this (and indeed other) coronaviruses.
On the back of Pfizer results, Russian Federation announced that its Sputnik V vaccine has shown 92 per cent efficacy in preventing COVID-19, according to interim trial results announced by the country's health ministry.