Pharmaceutical companies around the world are working towards the development of a vaccine for COVID-19.
So far, there are more than 150 vaccines in development worldwide, and some are expected to give groundbreaking results in a few weeks with several efforts nearing their final stages.
The World Health Organization is collaborating on an international level to ensure the delivery of around two billion doses by the end of 2021. However, there are speculations at several levels that need to be addressed.
Why is There Concern Over COVID-19 Vaccine Development?
While the COVID-19 vaccine development is a significant milestone we all are looking forward to, there is a concern among some communities regarding the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine.
According to the poll results on August 7, 2020, around 30% of Americans are not likely to take up the vaccine even if it is available without a charge. Moreover, almost 50% of the participants would not take up a vaccine developed outside the U.S; however, among medical professionals, in a recent study, over 80% of physicians polled said they would take the vaccine when it is available.
Here are some genuine reasons why an average American is concerned about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccine Development is a Time-Taking Process
Typically, vaccine development is a long process. On average, it takes around 10-15 years to come up with one to protect against a specific viral disease. If you look at the history, the fastest-ever vaccine developed was the vaccine for mumps and the process took four years.
When you talk about the vaccine development process, it includes several trials (typically three), which can take up a long time. Initially, the vaccine is tested on a small group to ensure whether it triggers the immune system response. In the next stage, people infected by the disease are added to the pool and the vaccine is administered to see how their bodies react to the dosage.
Finally, there is mass-testing among people of different ethnicities, ages and varying underlying health conditions. And even once the vaccine is approved, there are significant roadblocks that delay the vaccine’s production, distribution, and administration.
With all this information, the general population is concerned about how the vaccine for COVID-19 has already surpassed the initial few stages, given that the outbreak of pandemic is just a few months old.
With that said however, President Trump has initiated Operation Warp Speed which is aimed at cutting through the red tape and testing of the vaccine process without diluting the integrity of the vaccine formula. And great hope is on the way with Pfizer, Mondera and AstraZeneca showing strong promise of a viable antidote. Moreover, they say that their vaccines show a 95% – 100% effective.
In the first week of September, all hospitals around the country have been notified by the CDC to prepare for the potential delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine in the next two months.
Given the length of the vaccine development process and how quickly it will be accessible to the general public is another reason why there is a safety concern among the general population.
Lack of Transparency
Some pharmaceutical companies are not releasing information as quickly as they could. For example, the Oxford vaccine trials in the U.K. have been paused due to an adverse reaction in one of the participants. However, the U.K. authorities allowed the trials to resume. With limited information on why the trials were first halted and then resumed, it has raised speculation in people worldwide.
The general public needs information. While information about the development process of all the potential vaccines can be overwhelming, people at least deserve to know about the progress details of some of the potentially high-impact vaccines, but the pharmaceutical companies previously mentioned are doing just that.
The COVID-19 vaccine is underway and you can soon expect an announcement from the CDC and FDA regarding its launch. While health officials claim that the vaccine will be critical in preventing the spread of the coronavirus and will soon allow life to return back to normal, its effectiveness is still a concern for some. Moreover, the general population’s reluctance is a more pressing issue that needs to be addressed before the launch of the vaccine. Only when an ordinary citizen is willing to get immunized, the vaccine’s effectiveness can be proved, and we can hope that life would return to normal.
It is our opinion that if 80% of physicians say that they will take the vaccine, that is a worthwhile consideration for non-medical individuals to take into account.