Thoughts on Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on

It looks like more than just the CEO of Pfizer is happy about the news (he sold a lot of stock to celebrate) that a study conducted by them showed that their vaccine candidate was more than 90% effective. This is welcoming news in a world that is tired of the pandemic and the effect it has had on their lives which is now in its 8th month. The infection numbers are going in one direction, up. The US is officially at 0.9% (don’t get caught up in the low percentage, it was 0.09% not that long ago, that’s a 10% jump!) infection rate of the entire population and as we approach flu season the numbers are dangerously on the rise.

While these early results are promising and a sign of good things to come, there are a few facts about this particular vaccine you should know so as to not tempt yourself into believing this will all be over in a month or two:

  1. The vaccine is a two dose vaccine, you will two shots, three weeks apart (good luck getting people to come back to take a second shot).
  2. You need to store the vaccine at extremely low temperatures (-80 C) a logistical nightmare for your local CVS.
  3. It’s a relatively small study at 94 participants (not bad and we need to accept smaller populations to test on given it’s a pandemic but it is still small!)
  4. I wonder what the FDA will accept as a demonstration of safety before rolling out to the population
  5. That brings me to my last point, who’s going to get the first doses? Will they want them if they are released with the FDA applying pandemic time regs?

The vaccine study is a great start considering where we were 8 months ago, but there will be more to follow and we will hit critical mass at some point but Pfizer’s early lead will help the FDA figure out just what is safe in these extraordinary times and will tell us can a small population represented in the study really account for what the vaccine will do in a large population? In the meanwhile the race has begun, this will hopefully go down in history as the milestone that humanity measured as when the pandemic turned on its head.

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