Experts encouraged by reports on potential vaccines, but we're still months away from normalcy

Posted at 12:08 PM, Nov 16, 2020

While experts are encouraged by early vaccine data, many still say there is a way to go before life returns to normalcy.

"Operation Warp Speed," is a Trump administration effort to develop and deliver a safe and effective COVID-19 in the coming months. The administration's goal is to make initial doses available by January 2021.

The vaccine will initially be rationed while drugmakers produce more doses. Healthcare workers, people in nursing homes, first responders and those with high-risk health conditions will likely be the first people eligible to receive the vaccine.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Insitute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, the rest of the general population won't be able to receive the vaccine until later in 2021.

Pfizer and Moderna have both announced that their vaccines are on track for potential emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. But there are several other candidates that could also get approval soon — and could potentially overtake the market.

Both Pfizer's and Moderna's vaccine candidates require two shots, which need to be taken 28 days apart. But health experts believe that if a single-dose vaccine gets approval, it could quickly become the standard for worldwide vaccination.

"So, if you can get a vaccine out there that actually requires only one dose, it could quickly overtake the market," said Dr. Marcus Schabacker the President & CEO, of Emergency Care Research Institute.

Health experts are also encouraged that there are several vaccine candidates in the final stages of testing — they believe that more potential vaccines reduce safety risks.

"We have a lot of people in the world. We need to vaccinate in different countries under different criteria, and you always run the risk that there's something in the Pfizer vaccine that someone's allergic to that isn't in the Madonna vaccine," said Dr. Jill Roberts, an associated professor as USF Health.

One question that hasn't yet been answered is how the vaccines will stand up to the newly infected.

"So if you're turning positive today, we know you are exposed to somebody that had COVID, and we vaccinate you today — will that actually prevent you from developing severe disease?" Roberts said.

Merck is another U.S. based pharmaceutical company that is working on a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine. That vaccine is currently in early testing overseas.