What Do We Know About the U.S.’ COVID-19 Vaccines?

Russia decided to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine without completing phase-three testing. Here in the U.S., scientists are taking the more cautious, accepted, safe route of completing all testing phases before putting any vaccines on the market. There are a lot of questions about potential vaccines. We don’t have all of them. But, more answers are coming to light.
 
A big question for many of us is the cost. Moderna has already made agreements with other countries to sell their vaccine for between $32 and $37 per dose. But they have yet to release the price they would charge in the U.S. Moderna said that they are “committed to responsible pricing.” Pfizer’s vaccine is suspected to be sold for $20 a dose. Both of these vaccines would require two doses to be effective.  
 
AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson’s vaccines will be available for prices that will not make them a profit “during the pandemic.” But what that will means for the future is unclear. Many health officials believe that once the pandemic is over, COVID-19 maybe become a seasonal illness, like the flu. While the vaccines may be inexpensive this year, there is no way of knowing what the cost will be some next season.
 
The good news is, millions of Americans will get the vaccine for free because of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. There won’t be any unexpected co-pays or out-of-pocket costs.
 
Another big question is, will it be safe? The FDA has to approve anything before it comes to market, the vaccines will have been through thorough testing. There are 31 vaccines in human trials around the world. Not all of them are going to get to the market. They have to be proven to be safe and effective. Who will get the vaccines first? The National Academy of Science will make recommendations as to who should get it first. Those recommendations are expected by Labor Day, even though the vaccines may not be ready until 2021. Usually, the NAS recommends people at high risk receive access to any vaccines first.
 
That would probably include such people as the elderly, residents of nursing homes, health care providers, other people at high risk for chronic illnesses,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.
 
There are concerns about herd immunity. If not enough people are willing to get the vaccine, we won’t be able to stop the spread of the virus. If people are unwilling to take the vaccine, doctors believe it could take two years to get herd immunity. Only one-third of Americans said they would get the vaccine if they had to pay. But if it were free, more people said that they would be interested. And, people said, if the number of cases continued to rise, they would get it.
 
We are still far from having any vaccine on the market. We have to wait for more trail results. We are excited to know that things are coming along and that the vaccines should be free or at least affordable.
August 14, 2020
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