As more and more news come out about vaccines against COVID-19, people are starting to have concern and worry. Naturally, they are asking a lot of questions about receiving the vaccine and when. Most of the news has centered around two vaccines that have already been in the news most, a vaccine from Pfizer and one from Moderna. Both are mRNA vaccines and first of their kind to have been developed. A lot of focus has been on these vaccines and their early announcement of efficacy rates which are pretty high. However, other vaccines should be coming out. These will be different than these mRNA vaccines in their properties since they are made differently.
The media is creating fear about the vaccines by making early announcements when at least in the U.S. it may not be until spring when these vaccines become available to the general public. The AstraZenca vaccine has had problems with data reporting so this may delay the production of this vaccine. The Novavox has developed a nanoparticle spike vaccine that can produce a CD4 T-cell response. The Pfizer vaccine one has no T-cell response measured while the Moderna vaccine has a CD4 T-cell response but no CD8 T-cell response. Most vaccines will protect against disease but not protect against infection so though once vaccinated one should be protect against developing COVID-19, one could still get infected and carry the disease asymptomatically. This is why continued mask wearing, social distancing, and hand hygiene will still be needed until the disease can be eliminated from infecting people. The vaccines that are coming out after the mRNA vaccines may have the potential to confer immunity. Time will also tell as the manufacturers accrue more data on these vaccines since technically none of the studies are actually finished. Normal clinical trials take years and stopping these trials early could prevent getting accurate long-term data on these vaccines which is necessary for the health and safety of the general public.
Everyone has in some way been affected by this pandemic. The last thing we need is to have problems caused by the vaccines but everyone is trying to make sure these do not cause problems. Certainly, these vaccines are needed right away to fight COVID-19 as cases continue to rise in this second surge.
Written by Usha Govindarajulu
December 9, 2020