FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine” sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Pfizer announced Wednesday that it planned to apply “within days” for emergency federal approval for a COVID-19 vaccine that tested 95% effective, adding to some optimism despite the virus’ continuing havoc across the country. 

The coronavirus’ U.S. mortality rate surged to 250,000, and the U.S. also led the world in infections, with 11.4 million, with nearly 1,200 dying a day. The worldwide daily death toll crept over 10,000. But the news isn’t all bad, as Moderna announced Monday that its vaccine was also nearly 95%effective. 

Moderna’s vaccine trial involved 30,000 in the U.S., with half given two doses of the vaccine four weeks apart. Dr Stephen Hoge, the company’s president, said he “grinned ear to ear for a minute” when the results came in. “I don’t think any of us really hoped that the vaccine would be 94% effective at preventing Covid-19 disease,” he said. “That was really a stunning realization.” Country music legend Dolly Parton’s $1 million gift to Nashville’s Vanderbilt University helped researchers develop the vaccine. 

Pfizer is the first to complete the requirements from late-stage vaccine trials. The vaccine shattered speed records for the process, which usually takes years, and Pfizer said it could have up to 50 million doses of its two-dose vaccine available by the end of the year and up to 1.3 billion by the end of next year. Americans will receive the vaccine for free under a nearly $2 billion deal reached by the federal government for 100 million doses. A new study also shows that a vaccine could provide long-term immunity, and it may soon be easier than ever to test yourself, as the Food and Drug Administration Tuesday approved the virus’ first at-home self-test kit.

However, only about half of Pfizer’s supply will go to the U.S. this year, or enough for about 12.5 million people — a sliver of the American population of 330 million. There are other problems. Moderna raised concerns about mass producing and transporting the vaccine, including cold travel conditions and a high demand for raw materials. There’s also an expert on President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 team who said President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede could lead to delays in the rollout of a vaccine. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

The Vaccines Will Probably Work. Making Them Fast Will Be the Hard Part. — New York Times — 11/18/2020
But even if the vaccines are authorized soon by federal regulators — the companies developing them have said they expect to apply soon — only a sliver of the American public will be able to get one by the end of the year. 

Why Does Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Need To Be Kept Colder Than Antarctica? – NPR – 11/18/2020
But, if and when the vaccines are authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, distributing them presents a daunting challenge.

America’s out-of-control Covid-19 surge, explained in 600 words – Vox – 11/18/2020
It may seem like a sign that it’s finally okay to ease up on coronavirus-related restrictions. But experts say the opposite is true.

Should a COVID-19 vaccine be mandated? — Medical X Press — 11/18/2020
If FDA approved, one of the many questions that could arise is whether Americans should be mandated to get a COVID-19 vaccine—something the New York State Bar Association recently recommended for New York residents.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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