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What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine

According to recent reports regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, it appears there may now be a light at the end of the tunnel. With plans of a vaccine coming in late 2020 or early 2021, many are hopeful the pandemic will soon come to an end.

With the new vaccine on the horizon, here is everything you need to know.

The Progress So Far 

The race to create a vaccine has been a challenge for  immunologists, researchers, and the other parties involved in development. Trials began in January as the disease began to spread. The initial efforts focused on deciphering the genome structure of the SARS-CoV2 virus.  

As the virus cases and death rates began to soar around March, human trials began. As of now, the trials are in their fourth stage; this is after the lengthy and tiresome third stage of testing ended. The rate in which the vaccine is being developed is a glimmer of hope as we inch closer to the end of the pandemic.

 

The Role of Volunteers 

The trials would not have been possible if it were not for volunteers who took part in the trials as test subjects. The third stage called for almost 30,000 volunteers; they helped the tests progress to the next stage.  

The fourth stage will require twice as many volunteers for the trials to mature. This means there is a need for 60,000 volunteers who must be at least 18 years old and complete a  consent form. These volunteers will enroll in over 215 clinical trial sites all over the country.

Involved Parties 

There are several parties involved in the race for the vaccine, in addition to  volunteers. These parties mostly include  pharmaceutical firms and governmental organizations, which help in funding these projects. Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson is in charge of the fourth stage of the vaccine tests.The company is expanding trials to other countries such as Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Colombia. 

Other firms conducting tests are Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca. Johnson & Johnson's product seems to be the most promising compared to other companies vaccine.

How Will the Dawn of The Vaccine Affect Us? 

As earlier mentioned, the vaccine is a sign of hope after nearly a year of many living in fear. However, as the population has adjusted to the many life changes due to the pandemic, it will be a challenge to go back to “normal”. For example, it will be hard to shed some behavior like always keeping a mask in the car or constantly disinfecting surfaces. However, these new habits are not the worst to have, especially as viruses like the flu continue to affect society.

Access to The Vaccine

As the virus continued spreading, President Donald Trump launched a program dubbed Operation Warp Speed. This operation, launched in May 2020, will ensure the delivery of over 300 million safe doses of the vaccine by January 2021. Seeing that we are in the final stages of development, Operation Warp Speed still has the potential of achieving its goals as 2021 draws closer.

The Cost of The Vaccine 

One thing that may weigh on peoples’ minds  is what the cost of the vaccine will be. The government has already spent a fortune trying to get a vaccine, and it is the utmost hope that the vaccine will be highly subsidized to reach all and curb the spread of COVID-19.

There were reports that Moderna, one of the firms behind the vaccines' trials, had plans to sell the medication to other countries at around $35. This price is for small doses, meaning it might be less costly in the US. However, it may be pricey for the non-insured. 

Firms affiliated to Operation Warp Speed will most likely dispense the drug for at least $4, or $20 on the higher side.

Will the Vaccine Have Side Effects? 

A major concern with the vaccine is whether it will have side effects. In the trial stages, especially the first and the second, there were reports of severe side effects. Patients experienced symptoms ranging from fever, general body weakness, and pain at the injection point.  

The symptoms are the Grade Three effects, which are significant medically but pose no threats to the volunteers' lives. The third and fourth stages are paying more attention to these adverse reactions, intending to reduce them.

When the Vaccine Is Ready? 

The Food and Drug administration will announce when the vaccine is ready. It will also be in charge of distribution. In the meantime, it is our responsibility to continue best practices to reduce the Spread. Wearing masks in public, staying home when sick, and practicing good hygiene are all things that will make a large impact.  If unsure where to purchase masks and other protective gear, services like LifeBox are available. LifeBox offers kits that specialize in travel, daily essentials, and back to school safety. This move will go a long way in preventing counter-infections, especially as we enter flu season. 

Will the Coronavirus Vaccine Break A Record? 

If the plans go as projected and the vaccine comes out by the end of 2020, it will break the record for the fastest vaccine discovered. Currently, the mumps vaccine takes the tops spot of the fastest vaccine, with immunologists getting it in 4 years.

Bottom Line  

As plans for the preventive medication are underway, we should continue keeping up our hygiene standards to keep the viral infection at bay. The coronavirus pandemic has been one of the most severe disease outbreaks in almost a century, leaving behind loss of life and a failing economy in its wake. It is for these reasons that the promise of an upcoming vaccine is a source of joy to many.

 

Sources

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/investigational-covid-19-vaccine-well-tolerated-generates-immune-response-older-adults

https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/explaining-operation-warp-speed/index.html