The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for 2 vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), one developed jointly by Pfizer and BioNTech and the other by Moderna. According to company press releases and data made available by the FDA, both vaccines have shown approximately 95% efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections in phase 3 trials, without significant safety concerns. Additional phase 3 trials of vaccines manufactured by Janssen and AstraZeneca are underway; with rapidly rising case counts in the U.S., initial results from those trials may not be far behind.
All of these trials compare the incidence of symptomatic infection among vaccine recipients with that among a placebo control group. However, once authorized vaccines become widely available, conducting placebo-controlled trials of subsequent vaccine candidates may become challenging and alternative strategies to evaluate vaccines may need to be identified.
As we bask in the wonder of science and a vaccine being available to save the lives of our residents, we must stay tuned to the research. The COVID-19 vaccine is nothing less than a huge triumph however we can’t let our guard down as we never know what is just around the corner. Stay the course, stay strong, stay well, mask up, and stay tuned!