Some rare positive news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has come out. Two encouraging vaccines could be approved and distributed as early as this month.
The Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA) requires vaccine makers show at least two months of safety data with no serious negative reactions and at least a 50% efficacy rate. Moderna’s study crushed their goal reporting that their two-dose vaccine is 94% effective and resulted in no serious health effects for participants. The biotechnology company filed for emergency use of the vaccine with the FDA yesterday.
Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech’s study concluded that their vaccine is 95% effective against COVID-19 and they are ahead of Moderna as they filed for emergency use on Nov. 20. A COVID-19 vaccine has not been officially approved yet, but Pfizer is getting a head start after sending a supply of their vaccine from Brussels to Chicago O’Hare International Airport last Friday on a United Airline plane.
In comparison, the flu vaccine is only 67% effective and is commonly used and mandated throughout the U.S.
Some mild effects from both vaccines were reported such as pain, swelling or redness at the injection site, mild fever, chills, fatigue, headache and muscle and joint aches. These are side effects that are also common with the flu vaccine as well. According to the CDC, these common side effects are a sign that your body is building immunity against a disease.
“[About] 25% to 50% of people might feel some mild side effects after their first dose,” said Dr. Peter Chin Hong, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco to WVPI-TV.
The vaccines are most likely to be given to essential workers, those infected and people with pre-existing medical conditions and/or 65 or older.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has urged New Yorkers to still remain responsible and cautious as COVID cases have risen and are likely to continue increasing due to travel for the holidays. The major worry is that hospitals, like back in May, will become overwhelmed. As of yesterday, hospitalizations went up to 3,500, a number that hasn’t been seen since May. Similar measures taken in spring could be implemented again such as putting the state on “pause.” The rate of positive cases for the state is now at 4.57%, another number we haven’t seen since May.
Suffolk County is up to 61,072 COVID cases with 2,053 deaths and an infection rate of 3.8%. Nassau County is up to 60,701 COVID cases with 2,257 deaths and an infection rate of 3.1%.
The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), which has the final say on approval, will meet on Dec. 17 and will be reviewing the results of both studies in more detail.