Should You Be Concerned About The New COVID-19 Vaccine?
Yesterday we began our deep dive into the most crucial questions surrounding the potential COVID-19 vaccines.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have reported high rates of effectiveness, with the former reporting 90% efficacy and the later 94.5%.
We know this can be a hard and confusing time for many who want nothing more than to be able to hug a loved one without fear of contracting coronavirus.
That’s why today we wanted to spend extra time answering even more questions about these vaccines so you can be as informed as possible about what to expect.
We’ve already discussed the trials of the vaccines themselves and what data still needs to be collected. We explained the timelines for both potential vaccines and explained who will likely get the vaccine first.
Today we will answer even more questions… read on.
Why Are These Vaccines Different?
You’ve likely heard the phrase “mRNA vaccine” floating around the news lately. Maybe you’ve wondered exactly what that meant.
Today, we clarify.
Both Moderna and Psizer’s vaccine uses a new technology known as messenger RNA, or mRNA.
mRNA works by delivering genetic instructions that teach human cells to make a protein resembling one found on the surface of the coronavirus. That triggers an immune response designed to protect vaccinated people if they are later exposed to the actual virus.
There is clearly enthusiasm over these developments. Dr. Barry R. Bloom, a professor of public health at Harvard, stated,
“The fact that two different vaccines made by two different companies with two different kinds of structures, in a new messenger RNA concept, both worked so effectively confirms the concept once and for all that this is a viable strategy not only for Covid but for future infectious disease threats.”
If approved, this would be the first mRNA vaccine on the markets and would bode well for other types of vaccines that seek to use this type of technology, such as a potential cancer vaccine.
Will The Vaccine Work On Everyone?
Other questions have been raised about the effectiveness of the vaccine on both the elderly and children.
It is unclear currently if the vaccine will provide stronger protection for the elderly. People aged 65 and over were used in both trials for the vaccines, so once more analysis is done with the data provided, there will be a clearer understanding.
In regards to children, the trial run by Pfizer was initially only open to people 18 or older, but in September they began including teenagers as young as 16. Last month, they launched a new trial on children as young as 12 and plan to work their way to younger ages.
Moderna’s trial did not include children at all, but Dr. Tal Zaks, the company’s chief medical officer, said the company planned to test the vaccine on children in the coming months, starting with adolescents.
Storage And Handling
There have also been many questions about the logistical issues faced by providers of the potential vaccines due to the precarious storage necessities of the vaccine itself.
Both vaccines would need to be stored and transported at low temperatures (minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit for Moderna, and minus 94 Fahrenheit for Pfizer), which could add complications to their distribution, particularly in low-income areas with hot climates.
However, there is good news regarding Moderna’s vaccine with researchers announcing that its vaccine had a longer shelf life in the refrigerator than previously thought: 30 days, not seven. And it will last 12 hours at room temperature.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, stated that the easier the vaccine is to handle, the more opportunity there will be to use, “doctors’ offices, clinics and pharmacies as vaccination sites.”
Can I Take My Mask Off Now?
At a news briefing on Monday, Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, reiterated that the positive vaccine news did not mean people could let down their guard.
In fact, they implored the public to “double down” on mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing, and avoiding crowds. They also advised Americans not to falter on these crucial safety measures.
Remember, even if a vaccine is authorized within months, it will initially only be available to a very small population of the American people. It will likely be well into 2021 before the vaccine will be widely available to anyone who wishes to take it.
Most experts say even when a vaccine is widely available, additional measures like masks will still be necessary until the public health threat has subsided.
“This will not replace hygienic measures — it will be an adjunct to hygienic measures,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the FDA’s vaccine advisory panel warned. “You owe it to others to make sure you wear a mask.”
How Is The Vaccine Affecting the Markets?
Americans aren’t the only ones optimistic about these vaccines. Stock markets surged Monday after the announcement of Moderna’s vaccine.
The S&P 500 gained 27 points, or 0.8%, to 3,612, pushing even deeper into record terrain.
The Dow also jumped 456 points, or 1.6%, to 29,936.
The tech-heavy NASDAQ rose 0.4%. Moderna shares added $6.39, or more than 7%, and have risen 47% this year.
Markets saw similar rallies earlier this month when Pfizer announced its vaccine.
Steven Friedman, senior economist at investor adviser MacKay Shields, believes these trends are a result of a renewed optimism that a vaccine will be able to keep the economy from shutting down.
“The vaccine news also allows businesses to plan for the future with greater certainty in terms of hiring and investment. And the greater certainty could influence smaller businesses that have struggled during the pandemic and are considering whether to remain in operation.”
And so we all remain optimistic about the future of what could be a world-altering vaccine.
To a richer life,
The Rich Life Roadmap Team