Both Recipients Played Key Role In Developing COVID-19 Vaccine
New City, NY – During a ceremony at Pfizer’s Vaccine Research and Development Headquarters in Pearl River, Rockland County Executive Ed Day presented Kathrin U. Jansen, Senior Vice President, and Head of Vaccine Research & Development at Pfizer along with her colleague Steve Bjornson, Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer of Vaccine Research & Development with a Key to the County Award for their commitment to science and saving lives.
“As you know, the Key to the County is awarded to a person who makes a special contribution to Rockland. We have given keys in the past for acts of love, acts of heroism, and acts of service and leadership,” said County Executive Ed Day. “But today, it’s being given to two individuals for their unprecedented contribution not just to this County – but to the entire world.”
When the pandemic began, Kathrin Jansen, who is set to retire this year, commanded a 650-person team at Pfizer which worked around the clock to develop the very first vaccine granted emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, accomplished in record development of under a year.
“Without question, Jansen’s tenacity for developing this vaccine impacted billions of lives worldwide,” said Day. “I commend you for your longtime contribution to science and saving lives and wish you well in your retirement later this year. You’ve more than earned it.”
Steve Bjornson switched the focus of Pfizer’s Vaccine Research and Development Headquarters in Pearl River to developing a vaccine. As the pandemic unfolded, Steve and his team played an essential role in maintaining a safe environment at the site so the pharmaceutical giant could develop the COVID-19 vaccine quickly.
“Both of your combined efforts led to Pfizer accomplishing something that had never been done – in a timeframe never imagined,” said Day.
Past recipients of the Key to the County include: Grace VanderWaal, Millicent Ivey Mackle, William V. Harris IV, Cole Donnellan, and Katelyn Tuohy.
The full presentation is available to view here: https://www.facebook.com/rocklandgov/videos/750657532793659