- Moderna’s new coronavirus vaccine is 94.5% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections.
- The encouraging breakthrough prompted Dr. Fauci to speculate that life in the U.S. might finally return to normal by June of next year.
- Fauci, however, added that life can only return to normal if the vast majority of Americans opt to take a coronavirus vaccine.
After nearly nine months of quarantining, curfews, mask-wearing, and social distancing, there’s finally some good news on the coronavirus front. Over the weekend, Moderna announced that its coronavirus vaccine, in clinical trials, was shown to be 94.5% effective at preventing the coronavirus. Moderna’s announcement comes just a few days after Pfizer revealed that its own vaccine was 90% effective at preventing the coronavirus from taking hold.
With two potential vaccines on the horizon, there’s finally some hope that the current coronavirus pandemic — which is getting worse with each passing day — might come to an end sooner rather than later. In light of the above developments, Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said that life in the U.S. could return to a semblance of normalcy by the second half of 2021. In a best-case scenario, the summer of 2021 might finally see the return of live concerts, indoor dining, and a range of other activities that will be sorely missed over the next few months.
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“These are obviously very exciting results,” Fauci also said. “It’s just as good as it gets. 94.5 percent is truly outstanding.”
Fauci, however, did qualify his remarks ever so slightly. The best-case scenario referenced above would only come to pass if most people in the U.S. decide to take a coronavirus vaccine.
“If we get the overwhelming majority of people taking the vaccine and you have on the one hand an effective vaccine and a high degree of uptake of the vaccine,” Fauci said, “we could start getting things back to relative normal as we get into the second and third quarter of the year, where people can start doing things that were too dangerous just months ago.”
Fauci’s answering brings up a few interesting issues about coronavirus uptake. For starters, there’s a possibility that many people will be wary of taking a new vaccine, no matter how safe it’s proven to be during clinical trials. To this point, a Pew Research Center study back in September revealed that 49% of Americans wouldn’t take a coronavirus vaccine due to concerns regarding potential side effects.
Another issue centers on whether or not there would be enough doses of a vaccine. This problem, though, would be alleviated if both Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccine ultimately make it to market.
It’s also worth noting that one of the distribution concerns associated with Pfizer’s vaccine — namely that it needs to be stored in a specialized refrigerator at an extremely cold temperature — isn’t an issue with Moderna’s vaccine. On the contrary, Moderna’s vaccine can be stored in a regular refrigerator for upwards of 30 days. Pfizer’s vaccine, meanwhile, can only be stored for a period of 5 days.
“It was one of the greatest moments in my life and my career,” Moderna CMO Dr. Tal Zacks said of Moderna’s potential breakthrough vaccine. “It is absolutely amazing to be able to develop this vaccine and see the ability to prevent symptomatic disease with such high efficacy.”
The grim reality is that the next few months will likely see an ongoing increase in coronavirus cases and deaths. Still, it’s encouraging that we have two potential vaccines from reputable pharmaceutical and research companies in the pipeline.