National Geographic’s documentary on Pfizer’s COVID vaccine

p 1 national geographic is launching a new doc about pfizerand8217s vaccine development

It’s within the western Michigan city of Portage the place the ending touches get put on Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, created with German-based BioNTech. It’s the place the vials are crammed and prepped to be shipped, and thus far, the three,000 employees at this 1,300-acre facility have shipped out about 40 million doses. Final Friday, President Biden arrived to tour the plant and thank the employees.

“I need the American individuals to grasp the extraordinary, extraordinary work that’s being completed to undertake probably the most troublesome operational problem this nation has ever confronted,” said the President. “The entire course of takes teamwork, precision, and ’round the clock focus.”

Now Pfizer and National Geographic are saying  a brand new 44-minute documentary on that very course of, to premiere on the Disney-owned channel on March 11, precisely one yr after the World Well being Group declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.


Mission Attainable: The Race for a Vaccine is the results of a partnership between Pfizer and Disney, which utilized each its National Geographic documentary group and its CreativeWorks branded content material unit. All of it started in the midst of final yr when Pfizer’s Govt Vice President and Chief Company Affairs Officer Sally Susman noticed this as a once-in-a-lifetime alternative, for the corporate and its individuals.

“Pfizer is a 170-plus-year-old firm, and also you solely get sure alternatives to vary the course of human historical past,” says Susman. “I feel we did it as soon as earlier than after we introduced ahead penicillin, and if this was going to work, what would it not appear like? Nat Geo was the primary alternative for a associate due to their credibility, and their sophistication across the science. They make it straightforward to grasp.”

The movie breaks down the extraordinary timeline, course of, and technique behind the vaccine’s growth, highlighting the excessive stakes concerned. Maybe most compelling is its focus on the true individuals who made this occur, introducing viewers to lots of the key gamers who labored on this breakthrough underneath unprecedented circumstances. Manufacturing started late final summer time, with the filmmakers grabbing time piecemeal with everybody from firm scientists to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and different executives, as their time would permit.

Mike Wiese, head of branded content material at National Geographic Companions and Disney CreativeWorks, says that regardless of all of the press protection, there may be much more to the story that shall be new to viewers. And since they started final summer time, lengthy earlier than the vaccine was finalized, the movie’s end result was unknown.

“That’s what makes this a real documentary,” says Wiese. “A whole lot of manufacturers have a narrative to inform, they suppose they’ll do a recital of their model attributes or issues they’ve completed, however that is true, unprecedented entry, in contrast to any mission we’ve completed, and that makes this particular. It’s not a filtered look. We acquired entry, and we advised the story.”

Susman says working with National Geographic raised the bar for the way a lot the model was anticipated to satisfy documentary requirements. “We weren’t desirous about making a business,” says Susman. “We wished to create a fact-based, hard-charging movie.”

Final April, the corporate launched a “Science Will Win” advert marketing campaign to hype pleasure for the vaccine race and start the lengthy strategy of instilling public confidence within the outcomes. As PSA campaigns from organizations like The Ad Council and others proceed to handle vaccine hesitancy, this new Pfizer movie provides one other ingredient to that general effort. Simply 60% of these polled by Pew Research Center in November stated they might doubtless get vaccinated, leaving 40% of People but to be satisfied.


Susman says that public notion influenced who was featured within the movie, choosing senior individuals within the lab and manufacturing facility as a lot because the sometimes media-facing C-suite. “The whole lot we’re doing is about instilling vaccine confidence,” says Susman. “The individuals within the story, these aren’t the highest brass of the corporate. They’re the individuals doing the work on the bottom. And like all story, the nearer you get to the bottom, the extra you’re feeling its reality.”