Pfizer and Moderna announce COVID-19 vaccines

McLean students and medical professionals react to these promising announcements



A vaccine is being prepped for injection. Pfizer claims that 15-20 million people will have access to their COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020. (Photo obtained via Creative Commons)

Arnav Gupta, Online News Editor

Pfizer and Moderna announce two new COVID-19 vaccines

McLean students and medical professionals react to these promising announcements

Months into a worldwide pandemic, people around the world are itching for some good news to maintain hope for a normal life. 

Earlier this week, Pfizer announced a promising new COVID-19 vaccine, claiming 90% effectiveness in preventing the virus among participants who had not previously  contracted the virus.

By the end of the year, the company’s executives believe there will be enough vaccines to immunize 15 to 20 million people. 

“I am relatively hopeful about the announcement, and the results sound promising due to the high success rate of the vaccine,” junior Paul Kim said. 

While this announcement is good news for the world, there are also several doubts and concerns regarding the vaccine. 

“We are hopeful that the FDA review process will determine if it is both safe and effective for broad use in the population,” said Colin Brody, Assistant Public Health Emergency Management Coordinator for the Fairfax County Health Department. “As with many vaccines, side effects are a possibility.”

There are also several logistical concerns that need to be addressed. 

“While manufacturing has been taking place in parallel with the phased trials, we do not know when the vaccine will be available,” Brody said. “The Fairfax County Health Department will begin distributing vaccines to high-risk priority groups first, and then as more vaccines roll off the manufacturing lines, it will begin to be administered to a larger portion of the population.”

Shortly after the Pfizer vaccine announcement, Moderna unveiled their own vaccine on Monday, boasting an even higher 95% effectiveness. The announcement makes two total United States vaccines with exceptionally high success rates.

These releases bring positivity among McLean students and medical professionals alike, signaling a possible end to the pandemic.

“I think this means that school and our overall lives could start to return to normality, if the vaccine can be distributed quickly and on a vast scale,” Kim said.

Brody warns that the vaccines are still in their early stages and people should still be implementing preventative practices. 

“[The vaccine news] means that the light at the end of the tunnel just got a little bit brighter,” Brody said. “We cannot let our guard down, but wide adoption of the COVID-19 vaccine by the community will mean fewer cases, fewer hospitalizations, and fewer deaths, and that is the outcome we are hoping for.”