As we begin to move into the final month of 2020, promising breakthroughs regarding Covid-19 vaccination progress have been made. These breakthroughs were thanks to the companies Pfizer and Moderna, which could not have come quickly enough.
On Wednesday, November 18, just before 7 AM, Pfizer released a conclusive report on the effectiveness of their vaccine in its third trial. The press release states: “…analysis demonstrates BNT162b2 to be 95% effective against COVID-19 beginning 28 days after the first dose….” With a 95% effectiveness against Covid-19, the Pfizer vaccine seems a strong candidate for national deployment. However, Pfizer’s outstanding success rate begins to look less and less valuable once we examine the vaccine’s one major downside: it must be cooled to a temperature of -80 degrees fahrenheit. Hospitals in rural areas, those without immediate access to such technology, and those simply without enough funding, lack the capability to safely and effectively store the Pfizer vaccine. Due to this downfall, it is unlikely that the cost of the vaccine, and its storage, will offset its effectiveness.
On Monday, just days before the announcement of Pfizer’s success, came the winnings of a company called Moderna. Moderna revealed a staggering 94.5% success rate in their phase three trials, and, unlike Pfizer, it can be stored with relative ease. The Moderna vaccine is to be kept at 36 to 46 degrees fahrenheit, identical to the standard home refrigerator. Because of this breakthrough, the Moderna vaccine is significantly less expensive than its competitor, Pfizer. Moderna’s success in their phase three trials coupled with the low price tag will likely lead to a favorable outcome for the company.
It will be some time before a vaccine is put forth, though, hope lies on the horizon. It is no longer a question of “if”, yet, when we will beat the Coronavirus.