- COVID vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were found to be 95% effective at preventing the coronavirus during clinical trials.
- According to Dr. Fauci, mild side effects after the first or second dose indicates that the vaccine is doing its job.
- The CDC estimates that the US has administered more than 32 million vaccine doses to date.
Before Pfizer made the results from its Phase 3 coronavirus vaccine study public, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla called up Dr. Fauci to tell him that their vaccine was 95% effective at preventing a COVID infection. The 95% figure was far higher than anyone was anticipating, and even surprised Pfizer executives and researchers. Upon hearing the good news, Fauci became a tad emotional.
“I remember it was a Sunday night and I was sitting out on the back deck and I got a phone call from a friend who was the CEO of Pfizer,” Fauci recently recalled during an interview. “The CEO said something like, ‘Are you sitting down?’ And I said, ‘Oh my goodness. This is either really good news, or it’s really bad news,’ because I knew they were looking at their results. I said ‘Yeah, I’m sitting down.’ He said, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but it’s like 95% efficacious.’ And it was — you know, I started to cry. I really did.”
The COVID vaccine rollout in the US got off to a less than stellar start this past December. Due to logistical hurdles and a variety of bureaucratic issues, the US didn’t even come close to vaccinating as many people in December and January as health experts were anticipating.
The good news is that the vaccination effort in the US is finally starting to pick up steam. Over the last week, the US has been administering 1.34 million COVID vaccine doses every single day. What’s more, President Biden has promised to do everything in his power to boost that figure to 1.5 million doses per day in the near future.
With more people getting vaccinated now than ever, it’s only natural to see people raise more questions about the vaccine. To this end, Dr. Fauci, during an interview with MSNBC a few days ago, listed out two side effects that come about when the vaccine is working.
First and foremost, many people who receive the second dose experience a little bit of soreness in their arms. According to Fauci, this is a good sign.
“The vaccine,” Fauci said, “because you’re giving it in the arm, it gives a systemic reaction. You know that because sometimes after the second dose you feel a little achy, a little chilly, which means the immune system is really getting revved up.”
The side effects after the second dose are typically a bit harsher and can include fever, chills, fatigue, and muscle aches. In some instances, people have reported being out of commission for a full 24-hours. But again, this is a sign that the vaccine is doing its job.
“Things like fever or soreness at the injection site are normal, and actually they indicate that your body is reacting to the vaccine, which is what you want,” immunologist Ellen F. Foxman, told The Washington Post a few weeks ago. “That’s a good thing.”
At this point, there’s something of a race to vaccinate as many people as possible before more contagious COVID strains become dominant.