Pfizer rides reputation wave after unveiling positive vaccine data: Harris Poll

Harris Poll reported a boost in the pharma industry's reputation and vaccine development in general after Pfizer's positive COVID-19 vaccine news last week. (Tracy Staton)

By Beth Snyder Bulik | Fierce Pharma

Harris Poll reported a boost in the pharma industry’s reputation and vaccine development in general after Pfizer’s positive COVID-19 vaccine news last week.

Pfizer’s reputation is on the rise again after promising vaccine news last week.

More than 74% of people surveyed by The Harris Poll heard the news about the company’s COVID-19 vaccine and its promising 95% effectiveness rate. And even better for Pfizer was that 48% of them now have a more positive view of the drugmaker thanks to the news.

That feel-good sentiment cast a favorable halo on other COVID-19 vaccine drugmakers and the pharma industry at large. Forty-one percent of respondents now have a more positive view of those companies in the COVID shot race, while 40% have a more positive view of the wider industry.

The survey also found that 46% of people had more positive views of the COVID-19 vaccine development process and 39% had more positive views of the the vaccine approval process.

The researchers asked consumers to characterize their feelings—whether they became more positive, didn’t change or became more negative. The more negative numbers were “very low,” Harris Poll Managing Director Rob Jekielek said, with the biggest “more negative” number given to the federal government at 21%.

The federal government was at the low end of a laundry list of other opinions, too, with only 29% of those surveyed feeling more positive about it. The FDA fared better, with 37% noting they felt more positive about the drug approval agency.

“It’s very good data for Pfizer and very good data for the industry,” Jekielek said. “It’s not a surprise that it’s favorable for Pfizer, but I think it’s a good reinforcement in that it adds credibility to the vaccine process, it bolsters other companies that are working on vaccines and it even bolsters the FDA.”

One thing that may not move the vaccine needle? High efficacy rates. Harris previously asked people at what level of reported efficacy they would take a vaccine and found that at 50% efficacy, 61% of Americans would get a vaccine—but that even at a higher 75% efficacy rate, the percentage of people who said they would get it only moved up to 65%.

Younger people aged 18 to 34 did break out as a bit more skeptical, with more agreeing to a vaccine only if it was 75% effective or higher. Among Black Americans, the efficacy had no impact. Whether the potential vaccine was 0% or 75% effective, that group remained steady, with around 45% saying they would get vaccinated.

It’s “actually a big challenge for pharma. So even when they have a solution, there are a lot of people who are reluctant to take it and it’s hard to get to a lot of people,” Jekielek said, adding that “just getting more facts to more people isn’t going to necessarily sway them.”

Read the full story at Fierce Pharma