Questions remain about Pfizer’s proposed COVID vaccine

The drug maker has touted a COVID vaccine with 90% effectiveness. What is it and how does it work?

On Monday, pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced it has a COVID-19 vaccine candidate that could be ready to use in weeks. That led to much excitement and speculation about how the vaccine will be distributed.

The online magazine Route Fifty highlighted five questions that have yet to be answered about the vaccine candidate. We present an abbreviated list.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

How long does it work?

In short, we don’t know. Due to the accelerated timeline for development of the vaccine, we’re still years away from knowing how long it could protect patients.

Does it protect those with health conditions?

Again, we don’t know much. Pfizer has so far not made much data available about its vaccine’s effectiveness for specific groups of people. More could become known once the company formally applies for emergency use authorization for the vaccine later this month.

Can it get to everyone who wants it?

This vaccine has to be kept extremely cold – minus 94°F. That presents a challenge both for transportation and for storage. Kalamazoo County is already setting up systems for holding onto the vaccine once it gets here.

Pfizer has developed its own system for transporting the vaccine in dry ice and public health workers are already being trained to administer the vaccine once it’s in their hands.

You can read the full story here.

Independent journalism is essential to a healthy democracy. Make a donation today.