Vaccine Is 90% Effective in Phase Three Test
Each week this year feels like a month. With all the waiting we do, we always feel like we’re just on the verge of something happening. And yet it drags on. We’ve been waiting for news, waiting for results, waiting for a breakthrough. This week, Pfizer and BioNTech have announced that their COVID-19 vaccine prevented 90 percent of the people who received it from getting COVID-19.
Way back in mid-August, we wrote about Russia rolling out their vaccine without completing phase three testing. Three testing stages need to be performed to know that a vaccine is safe and effective before it can be brought to the market. As we have seen over the last few months, vaccine studies have been halted as people became ill so that scientists had time to learn if the vaccine was the problem. That means that by the time we get the shot, they know it’s safe. Russia pushed the vaccine to the market without completing those steps.
In this third phase of testing, this vaccine has been used on 43,500 people in six countries, and no safety concerns have arisen. The creators are trying to get emergency approval for the use of the vaccine. It hasn’t finished it’s third phase. Having not had any problems and such incredible results, it may be approved by the end of the month. The claim that it is 90 percent effective is amazing but not final, as the trial’s full results haven’t been analyzed yet.
Pfizer says they can make 50 million doses by the end of the year, but that is a global number — the U.S. won’t get them all. And they won’t go to the general public first. Healthcare workers and people at high risk will get it before most people. The older you are, the sooner it will be available to you. You need two injections of the vaccine, and you are protected 28 days after your first injection. The vaccine is free to U.S. citizens.
“Emotions are very high… I think that likely, based on impact, this will be the greatest medical advance in the last 100 years,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. “It is extraordinary but it’s coming at a time that the world needs it the most.” He was referring to the fact that the U.S. has been seeing more than 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day recently.
Because the research is so new, they aren’t sure how long protection from the vaccine lasts. Pfizer thinks it will be like a flu shot — you’ll need a booster. But, the fact that it is safe is a step forward.
Dr. Fauci said, “The results are really quite good, I mean extraordinary.” And he added that seeing the results and how far the other vaccine research has come “Gives you hope we might even have two vaccines.”
As one company cannot produce enough vaccines for everyone, it’s essential that we have more than one vaccine on the market. The sooner we have effective vaccines widely distributed, the faster we can get back to being together inside! The holiday season won’t be traditional this year, but news like this makes us hope next year might be something we’re more used to!