Are there concerns in the medical community about how polarized the public is about all science especially prevention including vaccines?
We are concerned about the general breakdown in the trust of science and how Public Health measures are being viewed as political issues instead of safety issues. However, we need to keep up the fight and continue to be strong advocates for the health of children, particularly preventive medicine such as vaccines. If we don’t keep up the campaign to educate and inform parents, we will be putting the health of children at risk.
How do you discuss the potential long term risks that can’t be known yet due to the vaccine creation timeline?
All the vaccines are targeting the spike protein. The mRNA vaccines are using mRNA that is degraded soon after it is translated into spike protein. So, there should not be any long term effects of the mRNA. The Astra Zeneca vaccine is using an adenovirus that is replication incompetent, meaning that the virus can’t live and grow in us. The Sanofi and NovaVax vaccines are protein vaccines, very similar to the flu vaccine. The end result is that while the technology is new, there is no evidence to indicate there is long term harm from the vaccine candidates.
Currently, Pfizer is listed as -70C while Moderna is -20C. Astra Zeneca is refrigerated. But, I think companies will be looking at the ability to safely store the mRNA vaccines at warmer temps. I think there will be a workable solution as to the storage requirements.
Pfizer said they are currently looking at the stability of the vaccine at warmer temps. My guess is that we will find that the Pfizer vaccine will have storage requirements similar to Moderna. However, we need to test to be sure.
What about patients who have tested positive whether symptomatic or not OR have positive antibodies – is there a plan whether they will be able to get the vaccine?
Good question. That still needs to be decided. From small scale studies in adults, the frequency and type of side effects were the same whether or not you had already had COVID.
The clinical trials for children likely will start in late winter- early spring. As for children we are doing “Immunological bridging studies”, the numbers will be smaller and results available sooner (maybe within 2-3 months of enrolling). Thus, we still think it possible that we will have licensed vaccines for at least some pediatric age groups before the 2021-2022 school year.
Currently, the youngest is 12 years of age. However, we have been sent protocols from 2 different sponsors with the age going down to 5 years of age. Some companies have talked about going down to 12 months or less but we have not seen those protocols yet.
As of December 15, 2020, the vaccine was approved for those 16 years old and up. Some trials are already enrolling patients 12+ years of age. As before and even after you get vaccinated, wear your mask and maintain social distancing.
Experts believe about 60% of the population will need to be vaccinated. Be a part of the solution!
It is amazingly effective! The trials started in July 2020, and have shown the vaccine to be 94-95% effective in preventing COVID-19 disease. The first to hit the market will be 2 injections, likely 1 month apart. The Pfizer vaccine demonstrated 54.4% efficacy after the first dose!
No. We know COVID can have a terrible, unpredictable course (short-term and long-term) in both healthy individuals and those with pre-existing conditions. If we forgo the vaccine and try for natural herd immunity at our current pace, 1.4-1.7 million Americans will die due to COVID-19 before we achieve adequate herd immunity.
The vaccine has not been tested in pregnancy, but the science behind it theoretically does not impact fertility.
As far as vaccine trials go in general, the major side effects are expected to surface in the first 4-8 weeks (which we’ve passed). The most common effects noted in the Pfizer and Moderna trials were soreness at the injection site (4-11% of recipients), muscle soreness (4-9%), fatigue (5-9%), and fever (6%). All resolved in 1-2 days.
Yes! The Pfizer vaccine, for example, enrolled 45,000+ people, of whom 25,000+ people got the actual vaccine. This is on par with all other non-COVID vaccine trials, who usually enroll 30,000+ people.
Also keep in mind that other medicines (pills) are approved after only being tested in much fewer people (~1500 people, for example. Vaccines are the most rigorously tested therapies, including the COVID vaccine.
The science itself was not rushed – the only parts bypassed were the time usually required to fundraise and the time usually spent waiting in line for the papers to be reviewed by the FDA and other regulatory administrations.
No. The mRNA enters the cell but NOT the nucleus, were your DNA lives. It gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to SARS-CoV-2. It lasts just long enough to teach the cell how to encode the protein, and then the mRNA is destroyed. Then, if you’re subsequently infected, your body recognizes the virus should not be there and the immune response is triggered to fight it off effectively.
This is an amazing technology that has been in development for many years, but was able to be accelerated due to everyone’s focus during the pandemic.
No. It contains absolutely no viral particles (live, attenuated, or inactivated). You cannot get COVID from an mRNA COVID vaccine.