There are now two vaccines in late-stage trials that are showing promise in protecting people against COVID-19.
What sets these two vaccines apart, besides being the first of a kind, is the fact that proteins from the virus were not used in these vaccines.
“Most vaccines use a protein from the virus or from the microbe to generate this immunity,” said Dr. Ellen Duffy, an immunologist and assistant professor at Siena College. “So this is something that has been researched for a long time, but really hasn’t gotten to this point of potentially breaking through and being commercialized.”
The vaccine produced first by Pfizer is so far 90% effective, but must be stored at a specific temperature, making it more difficult for some areas to distribute.
The vaccine produced by Moderna is 94% effective and a little more stable.
Each one would require you to take two doses.
If both are approved, then which one you take might depend on your health insurance.
“You’re going to be limited by what your health care provider is going to have access to,” Duffy said. “I think it’s going to be whichever one your doctor happens to have is what you’re going to get.”
If both vaccines are approved within a month, which health experts suggest, then first responders will be the first to receive the vaccine.
It would not be until the end of May or early June until everyone in New York has access to these vaccines, Duffy predicts.
Then, the next uphill battle will be getting people to actually take it.
“This vaccine, there is really nothing in it inherently that should be dangerous to anybody,” Duffy explained. “It’s probably one of the safest things out there.”
Many vaccines can take years to develop, and these COVID-19 vaccines were created within just months.
But since these vaccines were created without proteins from the virus and without preservatives, there is very little risk, Duffy explains. However, because it is so new, people will still have to keep following safety precautions.
“We need to keep doing what we have been doing because it’s not going to be instantaneous,” Duffy said. “And even going forward, because it’s not going to be long lasting, we’re still going to have to be very cautious.”
While these vaccines do show promise, it will still take a while before things return to “normal.”
Duffy says if 80 percent of the population takes the vaccine by summer of 2021, people still might not be able to attend a concert, especially without a face mask, until the summer of 2022.