Throughout these past few months, teams of scientists and researchers have been working vigorously to produce and test an effective COVID-19 vaccine. While vaccines typically take years to develop, there has been immense pressure around the globe to create a successful vaccine by 2021.

As we move closer to having a reliable COVID-19 vaccine, the Better Health Advisors team put together this status update to answer common questions.
Where things currently stand:

  • On November 9th, Pfizer released a statement that announced the success of their Phase 3 vaccine study. The study shows the vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • The CDC has released a guide outlining how the vaccine will be distributed, tracked, and monitored in the United States. Once the vaccine has been approved, it is sent to the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (a division of the CDC) for distribution to public health departments, large healthcare organizations and clinics, and hospitals.
  • The New York Times COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker shows the status of vaccines that have reached human trials In Phase 3 studies, vaccines undergo large-scale efficacy tests. Pfizer's vaccine has shown a 90% effectiveness, but other Phase 3 vaccines may show the same success rate in the coming weeks and months.
  • Until the COVID-19 vaccine is widely available to the general public, we all must take responsibility for keeping ourselves and others safe.

Questions remain, including:

When will Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine be approved by the FDA?
They haven’t submitted it for approval yet, but they are working on that. According to Pfizer, “Along with the efficacy data generated from the clinical trial, Pfizer and BioNTech are working to prepare the necessary safety and manufacturing data to submit to the FDA to demonstrate the safety and quality of the vaccine product produced.” Long term effects of the vaccine on trial participants will be monitored for the next two years.  

Who will have priority access to the vaccine?
According to the CDC, major hospitals and public health organizations will most likely receive the vaccine first. Then, a secondary supply of the vaccine will be distributed to locations around the country. As more doses become available, there will most likely be an increase in the number of locations that provide the vaccine. As demand surges, we may see a greater need for an effective vaccine administration network.

How do we get back to normal after the release of the vaccine?
In an interview, Dr. Risha Irvin, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins, explains the best way to get back to normal: “Yes I do understand that there will be fears and concerns but as we think about trying to move toward opening our society and getting back to some level of normal, the way to do that is through vaccines and mitigation techniques.”

As more news comes out about the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, be sure you are getting your information from trusted sources. The Better Health Advisors team will continue to keep you and your family updated as we navigate this time together.

We recently revised our Coronavirus Resources on the Better Health Advisors website to include a comprehensive checklist for COVID-19 and resources regarding mental health and coronavirus testing. If you have any questions for John and the BHA Team, email john@betterhealthadvisors.com.