The world was more than enthusiastic to hear that the coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech seems to be a success. Preliminary results show the drug is 90% effective with no serious side effects. That led to massive gains on Wall Street as the world breathed a collective sigh of relief. However, the vaccine is still in the early stages, and it will still be several months before it’s made available to the general public.
When we shared the news on our Facebook page, “Funny Nurses”, we were shocked at how many providers responded by saying they weren’t going to take the vaccine.
According to the latest statistics from the Pew Research Center, just half of U.S. adults (51%) said they would definitely or probably get a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 if it were available today.
So, even if we have an effective vaccine, will enough people take it?
Reactions on Facebook
The comments came in fast after announcing the news on Facebook yesterday. Most people sharing their opinions were either anti-vaccine or hesitant to take a solution that’s fresh off the market.
Student nurse Emma Louise Collar wrote:
“I won’t be, purely because we do not know the long-term side effects. I don’t want to take something that could potentially cause something. I’m pro-vaccine, I have all of mine. But this has been produced so quickly. A lot of people all worry about the possible long term/future side effects. I will be wearing my full PPE, social distance etc. but that’s it.”
Nurse Gabi Lane-Brown chimed in with, “I’m surprised there’s so many people who don’t want it in this group, I mean I don’t want to take it purely because we won’t know the effects it will have with pregnancy etc., and by the time it comes out I may be trying/being pregnant, but I thought I was a minority.”
Licensed practical nurse Melanie May Moore came out of the gate strong by adding:
“I’m sorry but…No, there is absolutely no medication on this earth that has zero side effects…It has not been out long enough for them to be able to make such a statement…And what about the long-term effects 10 years from now? No thank you. I will not be getting it or giving it to my child (who has all his vaccines btw).”
Your Questions About the Vaccine, Answered
Obviously, there’s a lot of concern in the air regarding the long-term side-effects of any potential vaccine. Many people also seem to be disturbed by the fact that it was manufactured so quickly, but it’s important for people to understand that Pfizer and BioNTech still have a lot of work to do before releasing the drug to the public. It has yet to be approved by the FDA, so it may be a little premature to worry about the side effects.
- Does It Work?
When testing the drug, Pfizer says there were about 44,000 people in the clinical trial. Around half got the actual vaccine, while the other half received a placebo. So far, just 94 people out of 44,000 have gotten sick with the coronavirus. However, the company is using this information to say the drug is 90% effective.
The medical community agrees that any drug that’s effective more than 50% of the time should be considered a success. In terms of precedent, a success rate of 90% would be quite impressive.
- What About Side Effects?
The vaccine doesn’t appear to be linked to any major side effects; however, additional testing will be required. Pfizer used a series of smaller clinical trials to find the drug that produced the fewest cases of mild and moderate side effects, such as fever and fatigue.
If the drug makes it through the next round of testing, it may receive an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, which means the drug will be administered on a limited basis. During this time, the FDA and CDC will closely monitor those who have received the drug.
Clearly, many people are concerned with the long-term side effects of the drug, and there’s simply no way to know what will happen ten years down the line to the people that take the vaccine. However, the medical community is doing everything it can to make sure it is as safe as possible. There’s little evidence to suggest that other vaccines have led to serious side effects down the line.
- Are We Moving Too Fast?
The speed at which these companies are moving may be alarming to some providers, but nearly every pharmaceutical company is working towards the same goal, so the world can get back to normal as quickly as possible. Pfizer maintains that they were not a part of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump Administration’s plan to deliver 100 million doses of a vaccine by the end of the year. However, the company received $1.95 billion from the government back in July, which helped speed things along. With so many resources and interested parties at play, this will likely be one of the fastest drugs ever produced.
We will likely have multiple vaccines on the market in 2021, but the medical community is doing everything it can to make sure these drugs don’t do more harm than good.