The following Member Spotlight is a summary from the interview with Whitney Harmel, vice president of membership and development at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, and Mia Masten, National Director, Advocacy and Professional Relations at Pfizer, to discuss Pfizer’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The full interview is included in the video below.
Founded in 1849 in Brooklyn, New York, Pfizer has been improving and saving lives for 171 years. With such an established history of experience, the pharmaceutical company was well-prepared to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Pfizer’s goal as a worldwide organization is to connect all members of the innovation ecosystem – from large pharmaceutical companies to smaller biotech companies, government agencies, and academic institutions – to commit to working together to address the disastrous effects of the pandemic.
Mia Masten brings more than 20 years of communications and government relations experience to her work as Pfizer’s national director, advocacy and professional relations. To ensure the safety of their 100,000 employees, Pfizer has implemented a preparedness plan for global use. Pfizer has reduced their workforce at all sites to only those critical to producing medicines and vaccines. The company has also implemented social distancing practices and enhancing cleaning measures, as well as action tracking capabilities to stay connected and work collaboratively despite social distancing restricitions.
Pfizer has put their full focus and resources into a comprehensive COVID-19 response, as they strive to protect those who are most vulnerable to the virus. Earlier this spring, Pfizer announced their partnership with BioEnTech with the objective of ensuring rapid worldwide access to the COVID-19 vaccine, while maintaining all safety standards. The collaboration with BioEnTech will help leverage Pfizer’s broad expertise in vaccine research and development, regulatory capabilities, and global manufacturing and distribution network. Through this partnership, they are optimistic in finding a working COVID-19 vaccine and hope to distribute 100 million doses of the vaccine by the end of 2020 and 1.2 billion doses by 2021.
As part of a larger commitment to humanitarian relief at home and across seas to meet priority health needs, the Pfizer Foundation has partnered with the International Rescue Committee. Together, the partnership has lessened socioeconomic disparities from COVID-19 by donating over 40 million in medical and charitable cash grants. The partnership also focused on strengthening global healthcare and addressing the urgency of the virus in the U.S. by helping frontline workers in areas most impacted like New York and Louisiana.
In China, the Pfizer Foundation provided $500,000 in grants for revision of supplies to front line healthcare workers. In Italy, Pfizer provided €2.5 million worth of medicine and vaccines used in prevention and management of serious cases of COVID-19. In the United States, the Pfizer Foundation has provided $500,000 in grants to International Medical Corps. for supplies to frontline medical workers, training and antibiotics related to COVID-19.
Click here to view up-to-the-minute COVID-19 resources on the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s COVID-19 resources page.