COVID-19 Vaccine Starts to Roll Out, But There Are Important Details You Should Know
What a triumph for science and medicine for the first COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine or BNT162b2) to be approved by the FDA and CDC in a hyper-accelerated speed of less than one year. The approval is technically called “emergency use authorization” because its phase III trials are still ongoing and will conclude on Aug. 2021.
But scientists and doctors of the FDA and CDC have seen the data of over 90% percent efficacy with no major side effects in clinical trials of thousands of volunteers and are convinced enough to have approved it.
The creators and brainchild of this vaccine that will save the lives of millions are scientists Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci of Germany. Ugar is an immigrant from Turkey. His wife, Ozlem, is the daughter of immigrants from Turkey. Both are physicians and scientists who got a fast track on creating the COVID-19 vaccine by their earlier research focused on SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. They also are specialists in immunology. Besides the Turkish-German couple, it’s fair to mention that many, many other scientists around the world have worked on developing a coronavirus vaccine. Science builds on science and the breakthrough to discovering a vaccine is ultimately a victory for the entire scientific community.
How does the vaccine work? The COVI-18 vaccine approach uses genetic material, mRNA, to trick cells into producing bits of protein that look like pieces of the virus. The immune system learns to recognize and attack those bits and, in theory, would reach fast to any actual infection.
It uses the never-before-approved technology called messenger RNA, or mRNA, to spark an immune response in people who are vaccinated.
Pfizer CEO’s Albert Bourla called the vaccine “the greatest medical advance” in the last 100 years.
At the very least, the scope of the vaccine’s impact will be among the greatest as millions await the second part, the tactical part of delivery and administering of the first vaccine. Other COVID-19 vaccines are also expected to be approved perhaps even one other (Moderna) by this week.
Phase 2 Delivery and administering of vaccine
The urgency of developing a vaccine has been met by the scientific community. Now it’s up to government planners, community health experts, shipping clerks, truck drivers, pilots, nurses, hospital workers, and health techs to also meet the urgency in phase 2, delivery and administering of the vaccine.
The Federal government must ensure that states are given adequate resources to execute efficiently phase 2, otherwise the urgency that scientists put into coming up with a vaccine in record speed would go to waste.
Compliance and trust
In order for the virus to have an impact or what they call herd immunity, at least 75 percent of the nation’s population must take the vaccination.
Early polls suggest that we are not there yet as many still are not confident enough to take the vaccination. But that should change.
First, the public needs to remember that tens of thousands have already taken the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine in clinical trials.
These individuals deserve our sincerest gratitude for taking part in the experimental phase. And the results have been proven the vaccine to be safe and effective.
But there are select groups that were not part of the clinical trials and these groups should not take the vaccine, not just yet, until further clinical trials take place. Those who shouldn’t take the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine are 1) anyone with significant history of allergic reactions (but they could under a doctor’s supervision with an EpiPen readily available; Dr. Anthony Fauci advises against it for this group), 2) people with immuno-suppressed conditions, 3) pregnant and breastfeeding women, and 4) children under 16.
The second way to get people to take the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine or other vaccines to come out later is to keep cost down. It’s in the nation’s best interest, in communities’ best interest, to have the vaccine be free and easily available. Right now, most people qualify for free vaccination with health insurance reimbursement. The initial cost is expected to be $20 per dose (two required) for some.
Now the compliance part is not just taking the vaccine, but to come back for the second necessary dose. In order for the vaccination to have efficacy of over 90 percent, the recipient must come back for a second dose. People must remember and there must be a public awareness campaign to drive this point home that the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine is a two-part process. The second vaccine expected to be approved put out by Moderna is also a two-part process. There is a one dose vaccine in the work that could be available in the future.
Safety guidelines must still be followed
The general public must keep in mind that the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine and others to come more than likely will not be available to everyone until the Spring of 2021. Priority to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine are health care workers on the frontline, nursing home residents and staff and first responders.
In the meantime, it cannot be stressed enough that we must continue to follow the CDC safety guidelines of social distancing and mask wear.
We’re near the finish line. The last horrific scenario is that we contract the virus and not make it before the vaccine becomes available to us. Be smart, be safe, stay healthy and take the vaccine if you are medically qualified to do so. Should you have any concerns, it’s best that you contact your personal physici