Update on the COVID-19 Vaccine

This article was originally published on December 7, 2020.

The COVID-19 virus has had a huge impact on everyone’s lives. From forming a virtual society and adapting to social distancing, many have been awaiting the untold day when the vaccine for the virus would be created. Although the vaccine is not a promise of safety from the worldwide pandemic, Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has recently been tested as 94.5% operative and Pfitzer’s vaccine has been proved 95% operative, creating a shred of hope in this dark time.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, “I had been saying I would be satisfied with a 75 percent effective vaccine. Aspirationally, you would like to see 90, 95 percent, but I wasn’t expecting it. I thought we’d be good, but 94.5 percent is very impressive.” Therefore, this news shows that the vaccine has been very successful thus far. This discovery has come very quickly, as most vaccines take years to create, yet it is still impressively operative. The vaccine does not present any major side effects and has reduced issues within the virus, making symptoms less harmful.

That being said, the process of people actually receiving the vaccine is limited, as only a section of people will be able to take it. The vaccine creators claim the U.S. will only be given about half of the total vaccine doses, meaning that 12.5 million people out of 335 million will receive the vaccine, which will first go to those whose jobs are exposed to the virus. Beyond the fact that not everyone will be eligible to take the free vaccine when it is produced, some are also worried that people will reject the proposition of taking it.

Regarding the actual process of how this vaccine was developed, scientists gave half of the subjects the actual vaccine and the other half received saltwater as a placebo effect. For Pfitzer’s experiment, 162 out of the 170 people who caught the virus were in the placebo group, while 8 were in the other group. Additionally, the harmful cases were primarily in the placebo group, as nine out of the ten were in this section.

To actually create the vaccine, the New York Times newspaper explains, “Pfizer and Moderna have developed vaccines that use a new technology that has never before been approved for human use. Both use a synthetic version of coronavirus genetic material, called mRNA, to program a person’s cells to churn out many copies of a fragment of the virus. That fragment sets off alarms in the immune system and stimulates it to attack if the person is exposed to the real virus.” Also, Pfitzer’s vaccine has to be held at a temperature of -94 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the coldest of all vaccines.

Overall, the news of the vaccine does not guarantee safety among everyone, and the CDC, the center for disease and control prevention, has still not yet made the vaccine established on their site. More details are still being figured out, but the vaccine should hopefully be soon to come, providing a source of comfort to many. The worldwide pandemic has caused the deaths of 1.2 million people throughout the world, so the idea of possible help in making the virus less deadly has been great news. We hope we will receive new information regarding this vaccine and the future prospect of everyone in the world becoming vaccinated, but until then, we can rest on the fact that there is hope for a change in this troubling era.