Written by Justin Culetu
With COVID-19 infection rates increasing around the world once again, several companies have announced very promising results from their vaccine trials.
Most recently, Moderna Inc. announced the vaccine they have been working on is 94.5% effective in their preliminary trials. About one week ago, Pfizer Inc., partnered with BioNTech, announced their vaccine is around 90% effective. Although these companies are in a fierce competition to get an effective vaccine out to the public, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla made it clear on Twitter that each company shares the common goal of eradicating the virus and congratulated Moderna.
Just this weekend, over one million new cases have been reported in the U.S, so the news of multiple companies having high success rates in their COVID-19 vaccine trials is reassuring news for those who are eager to get back to their normal lives. The distribution method for the vaccine is still undecided, but what is most likely to happen is those who are at higher risk for the virus, such as health care workers and adults over 65 years old, will receive the vaccine before lower-risk individuals.
Back in May, President Donald Trump launched “Operation Warp Speed”, a public-private partnership in which the federal government financially aided companies in developing a widely available COVID-19 vaccine. In April, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made $483 million available to Moderna’s vaccine efforts, and an additional $472 million for late-stage development in July. If the vaccine is approved, the federal government would give Moderna Inc. $2.45 billion for continued development as well as distribution.
Without Operation Warp Speed, these groundbreaking vaccines would not have been possible in such a short time. Experts claimed it would take many months, if not years for us to get to this point. The decision by President Trump to put massive amounts of federal and private resources together to get this done was unprecedented, and it is a decision that will save lives.
Although this should be uplifting news for all Americans, some officials have made the situation political. Recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo challenged the success of biotech and research companies, saying that he will not accept an FDA approved vaccine until an independent state panel ratifies it. At a time when American’s are dying, Cuomo is threatening to hold back the vaccine from New Yorkers because he would rather its positive effects be seen under a Joe Biden Administration.
“The bad news is that it’s about two months before Joe Biden takes over and that means this administration is going to be implementing a vaccine plan,” said Cuomo.