You may have heard positive news on the Pfizer / BioNTech’s vaccine with interim results from Phase 3 trials showing it appears to be 90% effective. However it is yet to be peer reviewed and work needs to be done to ensure it is safe (though no concerns raised thus far) , yet to receive regulatory approval in any country. Nonetheless it is expected that vaccinations could begin in December. Sufficent Pfizer vacine secured for 20 million in Uk (need 2 jabs a month apart ), other vaccines likely to be available, should hear more about the Oxford/AstraZeneca one in due course. In the uk NHS staff, care home staff/residents and over 80s would be the first in line. However at moment unclear if as effective in the elderly . As would take some time to roll out to the general population not lkely to have an effect on a winter wave, important to continue to follow social distancing/mask advice at present even wehen some restrictions are eased.
Some questions remain such as how long immunity would last (thought it should be at least a year though, in which case would obviously need boosters) but grounds for some optimism.
As long as the scientific evidence proves that a vaccine is safe and effective, I would have no hesitation, (though likely to be a while before I would be elegible) We do need a reasonable uptake, a section of population may be sceptical but some fears are not based on fact.
Now news that that interim results of the Moderna Vaccine ( based on similar mRNA technology show it is almost 95% effective, that is in preventing illness. This one can be stored at -20C for shipping and long-term storage. However Uk has no pre orders for this and did not take part in the EU vaccine purchase scheme. Whilst negotiating may not have access till Spring of next year. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/16/moderna-covid-vaccine-candidate-almost-95-effective-tr...
We await word on Oxford/AstraZeneca which if successful would be provided at cost during the pandemic. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-10-astrazeneca-oxford-uni-buoyed-vaccine.html https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-astrazeneca-vaccine-idUSKBN27905E
We now have the preliminary Data from Oxford/Astra Zeneca's phase 3 Trials, on average 70% effective in preventing symptoms however rising to 90% when the doze was altered. A sub sample of 3,000 (from around 12,000 who received the vaccine rather than placebo ) who were given a low doze followed by a high one - further analysis needed. A 70% figure might seem a bit disappointing in comparison to other trials (but still beyond previous expectations) and it seems the 30% experienced mild symptoms - no hospital admissions in this group. The oxford vaccine has the advantage of being easier to store and produce at scale. it is hoped that if approved this vaccine may become available at some point in December. However the bulk of the rollout will be next year.
Some questions being raised about how rigorous Oxford/Astra Zeneca's approach was. It turns out a lower doze was given accidentally initially and decided to continue with it (mind you given approval by regulators). and a different placebo was used in uk/Brazil. However it is the fact that there were no volunteers over 55 in this group which may put the estimated 90% success rate in the regime into some doubt. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/26/scrutiny-grows-over-oxford-universityastrazeneca-vacci...
Professor Helen Fletcher, a professor of immunology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has said it makes to do another trial with a lower doze including older adults. However it was likely Oxford/Axtra zeneca would seek a licence for the full-dose regime meantime. of course it could be that different vaccines will be more suitable for particular groups.
News just coming through that the Uk regulator the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency) has approved the Pfizer/Biotech vaccine for mass use. The first vaccinations are expected next week. The body says that whilst speedy it has been a rigorous process.
"The MHRA has moved with unprecedented speed to grant emergency use authorisation, having received the final data from the companies on 23 November. It has been carrying out a rolling approval process, scrutinising data from early trials as they came in"
It should be noted though that Pfizer / BioNTech is yet to be approved by both The European Medicine Agency and the Food and Drugs Administration(Us).
According to this article the Eu body will need more time to analyse the data https://apnews.com/article/europe-regulator-covid-19-vaccine-dec-29-8700be24e4fbdb1cbdcc78532b3a5d15 Each Eu country has the option to allow their own regulator to issue emergency approval for domestic market but seems they are waiting for the EMA.
Clarification of situation here https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-brexit-did-not-speed-up-uk-vaccine-authorisation
obviously certain regulators/ health experts/public figures think their approach is best but should not be seen as a competition, Sure vaccinations will start in other nations in due course.
In my country (The Netherlands) I'm in the third group of people getting vaccinated. Basically the distrubition will be more or less like this:
1: People at "Risk"
2: Healthcare professionals
3: Other civil servants with critical jobs (Police, Education etc.). As I work in the education sector, I'm in the third group ^-^
The government has also arranged vaccination passports for everyone that gets vaccinated, effectively allowing those vaccinated to proof that they are "safe" from the virus.
I will accept the vaccination myself if there aren't too many risks brought to light after vaccinating the risk group 🙂 It will probably take 3 months until it's my turn but after that I can finally (safely!) meet my parents again (Who are both in the risk group).
For their safety I have tried to (physically) avoid them to minimize the risks for them and I must admit, I really start missing them 😓But one year is a decent price to pay if I improve their rates of survival.