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Daines announces participation in Pfizer coronavirus vaccine trial

Daines announces participation in Pfizer coronavirus vaccine trial
© Bonnie Cash

Montana Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesRick Scott tests positive for coronavirus Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (R) announced Wednesday that he was a participant in Pfizer’s trial to formulate a coronavirus vaccine and that he’s tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.

Daines said in a statement that he and his wife both participated in the trial. The trial was blind, so Daines does not know if he received the vaccine or a placebo, but the presence of COVID-19 antibodies indicates he may have either received the vaccine or had previously been exposed to the coronavirus. 

“My goal is to help build confidence and trust for Montanans and the American people wondering if they should take the vaccine when it is approved. This is about saving lives. This is about supporting our healthcare heroes. This is about protecting Montana jobs & workers and rebuilding our economy. This is about American exceptionalism and innovation. This is about restoring hope. This is about restoring normalcy into our way of life,” Daines said.

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“Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve made the research, development and manufacturing of a COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic drugs a top priority because I believe in order to get back to normal, we need a safe and effective vaccine,” he added.

The announcement comes the same day that Pfizer and its partner BioNTech announced that final data on their coronavirus vaccine candidate showed it to be 95 percent effective and that they would soon be applying for Federal Drug Administration emergency authorization. The companies expect to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 globally and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021. 

The vaccine would require a person to receive two shots, so 50 million doses would cover 25 million people.

Moderna also said this week that interim data revealed its coronavirus vaccine candidate to be 94.5 percent effective. 

Daines said he would strongly encourage people to get the vaccine once it is approved but that he would not look to mandate the shots under law.

“While I believe a vaccine is key to getting back to normal, I do not believe in mandating it. I would, however, encourage people to get the vaccine once approved, in consultation with their doctor. I trust Montanans to make the decision for themselves, use commonsense and practice personal responsibility,” he said. “While we wait for a final vaccine approval, we must remain smart, protect the most vulnerable in our communities, and be responsible.”