The United States COVID-19 Vaccine

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, the world is wondering when a safe and distributable vaccine will be available. 

In the United States, Operation Warp Speed is working with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense to develop and distribute COVID-19 vaccine doses.

As for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they are working with the public and healthcare providers to make the COVID-19 vaccine accessible in amount and cost. The wait for a COVID-19 vaccine has been nerve-racking, there is bound to be misunderstanding and misinformation about the vaccine. The CDC is regularly updating accurate information, informing healthcare providers, and including communities in the process. As for cost, vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be provided at no cost but vaccination providers may charge an administration fee.

Observations thus far have shown a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines for adults in the United States and the unavailability of doses to young children until more studies are completed. 

An advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the priority recipients of the vaccine include the 20 million healthcare workers in hospitals and clinics and a Live Washington Post article headlines, “Health-care workers, nursing home residents should get coronavirus vaccine first, panel says”. 

In January, research began. The first vaccine safety trials in humans started in March and now researchers are conducting clinical trials on humans for 57 vaccines. The clinical trials currently in phase 3 include AstraZeneca, Janssen, Moderna, Novavax, and Pfizer vaccines.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science publishes “Public needs to prep for vaccine side effects”. The article written in late November states, “the independent board that conducted the interim analysis of Moderna’s huge trial found that severe side effects included fatigue in 9.7% of participants, muscle pain in 8.9%, joint pain in 5.2%, and headache in 4.5%. In the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine trial, the numbers were lower: Severe side effects included fatigue (3.8%) and headache (2%).” Despite alarming side effects, the biotechnology company Moderna has requested emergency authorization of its experimental vaccine as of December 1. If authorized, the United States government could distribute two vaccines in weeks. The CDC maintains its recommendation of wearing a mask even if the vaccine has been administered. 

“We are committed to expediting the development of COVID-19 vaccines, but not at the expense of sound science and decision making. We will not jeopardize the public’s trust in our science-based, independent review of these or any vaccines. There’s too much at stake.””

— Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., FDA Commissioner, and Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research

Until then, wear a mask, practice social distancing, and stay safe bulldogs!