Pfizer's announcement that its coronavirus vaccine candidate is more than 90 percent effective has created great excitement and hope for a return to normalcy. But questions remain about its safety data and distribution plan.
DARA KASS: Recently, Pfizer released a press release saying that their vaccine for this coronavirus was 90% effective in preventing infections in vaccine trial participants. We're very excited about this information. This is very, very promising. But we need to wait for more information to come. There are a lot of questions to answer and a lot of problems to solve, but we are on the path to solving them.
We don't have information yet about the kind of trial participants that were vaccinated and got infected, or vaccinated and were not infected. We still don't know how they respond to the vaccine, any side effects, any other complications, any comorbidities. And we know that elderly patients and patients who are vulnerable are higher risk, not just for infection, but complication.
So we need to know more about which patients were protected by vaccination. Was it even across all demographics? There will also be a lot of questions about the distribution and the handling of a vaccine like this after it is approved by the FDA. This vaccine, in its trial form, has two doses. Which means that the production of the vaccine would have to be doubled in order to make sure that all of the people who need it would get both doses.
We don't know when this vaccine, or any vaccine, is going to be widely available. Or more importantly, if enough people are going to take it once we have it. These are questions and problems that have to be solved once the vaccine is proven to be safe and effective.
So the most important thing to remember is that this information actually doesn't change our lives day to day right now. The most important thing to do is to continue to wash your hands, stay distanced, and most importantly, please wear a mask. We're excited about the possibility of a vaccine, but we need to keep our focus right now on stopping the spread of this virus in our communities.