Pfizer vaccine results lead to promise

News regarding the effectiveness of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has created hype.

A patient is injected with the Pfizer vaccine as part of their trial.

A patient is injected with the Pfizer vaccine as part of their trial.

Alex Kajda, Staff Writer

In a month filled with controversy surrounding the election and news solely being focused towards that, some more uplifting news has reached the press. Pfizer and BioNTech have claimed that their COVID-19 vaccine has a 90% effectiveness rate based on their U.S trials. This news certainly comes as a relief to many, but there’s more to the story than just that.

The results from the company’s phase 3 trials come as a big surprise, as researchers “have cautioned that a vaccine that might only be 60% or 70% effective” (StatNews). The stock market went up big after this news was announced. This miraculous set of info means that all is set and clear, right? Well, not quite. First of all, the data presented through the experiment has been very straight-forward and controlled, as not many different scenarios and possibilities have been tested. Each subject received the vaccine two times in a 3-week span, which is how the 90% number was reached. Critics of the study claim that the experiment and way the subjects have been treated are “best case scenario” and that similar results are unable to be achieved in the real world. The vaccine also must be held at ultra-low temperatures as well in order to remain effective.

Another major issue is the fact that information about severe cases of the virus hasn’t been released or specified upon. The 90% effectiveness is great, but if people are still getting severe and life-threatening cases of the virus, then that also must be resolved along with preventing the virus through means of the vaccine. There’s also still a lot of scenarios remaining that could possibly reveal an underlying issue or side effect associated with the vaccine that is currently unknown. Things like this must be sorted out and brought to public attention before any vaccine arrives.

The vaccine doesn’t give exact data on the results of the vaccine on various age groups or people with various underlying conditions. Data such as this is more applicable to the vaccine’s effectiveness in the real world rather than just being constrained to the clinical trials.

However, if all goes well and what is being released to the public is truly what we think it is, then results are expected to come soon. Some doses could be released by the end of the year as “Pfizer’s chief executive has said that it could have 30 to 40 million doses of the vaccine before the end of the year” and the vaccine will be applied for emergency authorization in about a week or two (New York Times). If the emergency authorization is passed, the vaccine can be released to the public prior to the conclusion of studies for the vaccine. Most of the early doses of the vaccine will go towards those who are most easily susceptible to the virus and have the highest risk from it.

For now, we just have to hope that all goes well and that no major slip-ups occur. If what we believe to be true is the case, then hopefully we can go through a good portion of 2021 COVID-free.