The COVID-19 global pandemic has impacted many people around the globe in some way, and as a result, all eyes are on the biopharmaceutical companies that are working to develop safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. As the Chief Patient Officer at Pfizer, Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron describes herself as “a physician by trade and an advocate by choice.” Her current role is focused on helping to ensure that patients’ voices are heard and their concerns are looked to as a guiding light. Since the start of the pandemic, Richardson-Heron has been speaking with patients and answering their questions, and she wants to share four key things about the commitment and dedication her company has to changing the course of this pandemic.
1. Working at the speed of science
While the COVID-19 vaccine development process is moving with unprecedented speed to find a solution to this pandemic, we are moving at the speed of science. We are committed to always making the safety and well-being of vaccinated individuals our top priority. We continue to adhere to high scientific and ethical standards regarding the conduct of clinical trials and the rigor of manufacturing processes.
2. Focus on diversity in clinical trials
The pandemic has drawn focus on the need for greater racial and ethnic diversity in clinical trials. This is not a new issue — diverse communities have long been underrepresented in clinical research — but I’m encouraged by the progress being made.
We have made intentional efforts to design our studies in a way that is inclusive, which will allow us to generate data from a broad and diverse group of patients. Why? Because we want to evaluate COVID-19 treatments and vaccines in diverse communities, so that these communities have confidence in these potential medical breakthroughs. Our goal is to help address the pronounced health disparities we are seeing with COVID-19. As an industry, we will continue to hold ourselves accountable in this area.
3. Proactive healthcare, especially for the aging population
The pandemic has served as yet another stark reminder of the tremendous value of preventive healthcare. It’s especially critical to help protect vulnerable individuals, including those over 65, who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.1 So please remember to schedule routine preventive health exams and screenings for you and your family, and stay up-to-date on recommended vaccinations for diseases that have approved vaccines.
4. Stronger together
We have made a very intentional effort to mobilize impactful partnerships and collaborations that will continue to endure in the face of this crisis. Our work together has once again demonstrated that we are stronger together. For example, we joined eight other biopharmaceutical companies that are also working toward potential global regulatory filings and approvals of COVID-19 vaccines and signed a historic pledge. The pledge outlines our commitment to always make the safety and well-being of vaccinated individuals our top priority.
Sponsored by Pfizer.
PP-CVV-USA-0041 © 2020 Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved. November 2020
1 Coronavirus disease – Hospitalization and death by age. CDC. Accessed October 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/investigations-discovery/hospitalization-death-by-age.html. Updated August 2020.