Vaccine Update November 24, 2020

Covid Vaccine May be Available to All by Summer or Fall 2021  

  • Pfizer and Moderna leading the race for a vaccine have released promising results from their Phase 3 trials.  Before these companies can apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for authorization to provide their vaccine to the public, they must clear several more hurdles. 
  • About half the trial participants must be two months past their second shot, to prove that the candidate vaccines are safe. If someone were to develop a severe vaccine reaction, it’s likely to happen within six weeks of receiving it. Pfizer will pass that safety milestone this week. Moderna will take longer because it took longer to enroll trial participants. 
  • The final hurdle concerns production. Both companies will have to show that they can safely produce their vaccine at scale. Pfizer said it will provide the FDA that information before this week, but it’s not clear when Moderna will complete this process. 
  • Preliminary results indicate Moderna’s vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective; Pfizer's more than 90% effective. Both candidate vaccines reported mild or moderate side effects, mostly pain at the injection site, fatigue and aching muscles and joints for a day or two. The FDA is expected to issue an emergency use authorization for at least one vaccine by year's end, with front-line health care workers first in line to get it. Clinical trial data showing how people of various ages, ethnicities and health statuses responded will determine recommendations on how to prioritize shots. Scientists have predicted vaccines won’t be available to all until next summer or fall. 
  • US coronavirus map: Tracking the outbreak

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