Pfizer & Moderna Vaccines are Over 90% Effective. But How Long Until We Go Back to the Old Normal?


Pfizer & Moderna Vaccines are Over 90% Effective. But How Long Until We Go Back to the Old Normal?

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

After a long and tiresome wait, developments on the Covid vaccine front are coming thick and fast. Last week, Pfizer announced that its vaccine had shown over 90% effectiveness. Soon after, Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine claimed 92% effectiveness. Now, Moderna has entered the ring claiming an almost 95% effectiveness against the coronavirus.Is this the light at the end of the dark tunnel, that was 2020?

“The primary endpoint of the Phase 3 COVE study is based on the analysis of Covid-19 cases confirmed and adjudicated starting two weeks following the second dose of vaccine. This first interim analysis was based on 95 cases, of which 90 cases of COVID-19 were observed in the placebo group versus 5 cases observed in the mRNA-1273 group, resulting in a point estimate of vaccine efficacy of 94.5 percent,” Moderna said in a statement.

The results are “truly striking,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious diseases expert. “The vaccines that we’re talking about, and vaccines to come, are really the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Moderna’s bombshell announcement also stated that their vaccine can be stored at two to eight degree celsius for 30 days. That’s the temperature found in a normal refrigerator or in a cooler filled with ice. It makes mass distribution less challenging in rural areas and low-income countries.

Moderna said it would have 20 million doses ready by the end of the year. Pfizer said it would have 50 million ready by then. Considering that both vaccines require two shots, they would be enough to inoculate 35 million people by the end of the year.

Are we headed towards normalcy anytime soon? By winter next year, believes Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine creator, Professor Ugur Sahin. In an interview on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Sahin said he was confident the vaccine would reduce transmission between people as well as stop symptoms developing in someone who has had the vaccine, though not as high as the test results but still “maybe 50 per cent.”

Prof Sahin said if everything went well, the vaccine would begin to be delivered at the “end of this year, beginning of next year.” He stated that the goal is to deliver 300 million doses worldwide by April next year. “Summer will help us because the infection rate will go down in the summer and what is absolutely essential is that we get a high vaccination rate until or before autumn/winter next year,” he stressed.

The beginning of the end is near, when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic. As we enter the last leg, it is critical more than ever to pull through it by adhering to social distancing measures and wearing masks. We’re almost there, it would be silly to get complacent now. We owe it to our phenomenal Covid warriors.