HOUSTON - Two COVID-19 vaccines have now proven to work in recent clinical trials.
On Monday, Moderna announced that their Coronavirus vaccine has shown 94.5% effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.
“It’s a really important milestone in the fight against the pandemic,” said Moderna President Stephen Hoge. “Knowing the vaccine is going to be effective is great news, but we still need to complete the regulatory process.”
Last week, similar news was released from pharmaceutical company, Pfizer. According to Pfizer, their Coronavirus vaccine has shown 90% effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.
“The bottom line is with both vaccines, we’re encouraged, but we have a-ways to go before we know they’re safe, effective, and okay to administer,” said Memorial Hermann CEO Dr. David Callender.
According to experts, these effectiveness numbers are determined by large studies involving thousands of participants.
Groups of people were given COVID-19 vaccines, while others received placebos. The volunteers are unaware of which sample they’re given.
Over time, the volunteers are naturally exposed to COVID-19 while going about their everyday lives. So far, most of the people sick with COVID-19 in these studies had the placebo shots. While both Moderna and Pfizer claim at least 90% of their actual vaccine recipients have avoided COVID-19.
“The early calculations of effectiveness are based on that first endpoint,” said Dr. Callender. “We’re all hopeful the rates of effectiveness will hold up.”
On Monday, we interviewed Dr. Alan Barret about these vaccine results. Dr. Barret works for the University of Texas Medical Branch and is the Director at the Sealy Institute for Vaccine Sciences.
“While we have good promising data that is working, the real question is how long does everyone have protective immunity,” said Dr. Barret. “The vaccines we’re making now; we’re trying to stop a pandemic. What we need ultimately, is vaccines that give long term protection. Not months, but years or decades.”
Both Moderna and Pfizer would require two rounds of COVID-19 shots for people spaced out by a few weeks. While the companies wait for approval, many feel hopeful the vaccines will at least slow down the pandemic.
“We’ll probably be in a good position by April to immunize most people in this country,” said Dr. Barret.