Dr, John Vanchiere, infectious disease specialist at LSU Health Shreveport, talks about his involvement in the development of the Pfizer COVID vaccine.
“It’s a home run,” Vanchiere begins, explaining why the Pfizer announcement that the vaccine is 90% effective is a groundbreaking medical moment, “It’s a really, really good outcome…much better than we hoped it would be. It’s really phenomenal.
“Probably the best comparison is to the flu vaccine which we have to change every yea. The flu vaccine ranges anywhere from 20 to 50, 60% effective in good years.”
And when should the vaccine be available to the public? “This is effectiveness data. They still have to get another three to four weeks of safety data into their system for analysis,” Vanchiere explains, “The FDA requires them to have two whole months of data after the second injection of the vaccine. They still have to collect more safety data, then apply to the FDA for an emergency use authorization…and that’s expected to happen pretty quickly after the data is available and analyzed.. Then they’ll begin to distribute the vaccine.”
Vanchiere adds that there will be a priority to who gets the COVID vaccine first. “Highest risk, healthcare workers, folks who work in nursing homes, will be the first to get the vaccine. Military personnel would also be in that first tier. After that, nursing home patients, first responders and others in that category.”