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Vaccine Awaits Approval

sciencemag.org

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sciencemag.org

Anna Adams, Staff Writer

Following the introduction of Coronavirus to the world, doctors race to concoct and distribute a vaccine. Students form opinions as authorities provide updates about the development of the vaccine.

The Pfizer drug company is running Coronavirus vaccine trials with current results proving its effectiveness to be over 90 percent. At the end of November, Pfizer plans to request emergency authorization from the FDA. In the scenario the vaccine is approved, company executives believe Pfizer would be able to manufacture enough doses to immunize 15 to 20 million people by the end of 2020.

However, logistics pose another issue. Due to the presence of mRNA, the doses must be kept in extremely cold temperatures, and other factors- such as what role the government will play in its distribution and where people will go to receive doses- are still unclear.

US army general Gustave Perna, co-leading the federal vaccine initiative, estimates that millions of Americans may be immunized in December if given the green light by the FDA. Perna believes millions of doses can be provided by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna, the companies furthest along in the vaccine trials, by then. Perna is the chief operating officer for Operation Warp Speed, a team preparing for dealing with the logistics and distribution of the vaccine.

In contrast, officials believe the US will experience another outbreak- just in time for the holidays. As the air grows colder, coronavirus will thrive and overwhelm hospitals all over the country. Even if the vaccine is prepared by then, the rate of distribution would not be quick enough to strongly impact the outbreak.

In an anonymous poll, students at MVHS shared their thoughts on the vaccine: over half agree that a vaccine will help lessen the severity of the predicted outbreak, but the majority do not believe the vaccine will be ready by December; 75 percent would not want to receive a vaccine, with one interviewee wary of any “crazy side effects.” 

As a vaccine waits for approval, many people have alternating levels of optimism for the future. Share your opinion in the comments.

CITATIONS

Thomas, Katie, et al. “Pfizer Stuns Experts With Early Data That Vaccine Is More Than 90% Effective.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 9 Nov. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/11/09/health/covid-vaccine-pfizer.html. 

Will Feuer, Berkeley Lovelace Jr. “U.S. Prepares for Worst Four Months of the Pandemic as It Stares down the ‘Darkest’ Days Yet.” CNBC, CNBC, 12 Nov. 2020, www.cnbc.com/2020/11/11/us-prepares-for-worst-four-months-of-the-pandemic-as-it-stares-down-the-darkest-days-yet.html. 

Huang, Pien. “Operation Warp Speed’s Logistics Chief Weighs In On Vaccine Progress.” NPR, NPR, 10 Nov. 2020, www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/11/09/933060635/operation-warp-speeds-logistics-chief-weighs-in-on-vaccine-progress.