Coronavirus Vaccine Update


John Liu, Journalist, Editor

     Many people are desperately waiting for a coronavirus vaccine which will finally put an end to the pandemic madness. This article brings good news. According to CNBC, there are currently four main companies working on the vaccine, and the results of the testing show over 94% efficiency. In history, the shortest time that it ever took to develop a vaccine was four years. This new one only took eight months so far. If any one of the four companies manages to pull it off, it will be record-breaking. Before we get on to the specifics of each company, we’ll talk about some obstacles that will be met along the way.


     One of the biggest problems facing the vaccine is distribution. Experts say that to achieve herd immunity, about 70% of the population will need to be vaccinated or have natural antibodies. With the most promising of the four vaccines requiring two doses per person, the United States will need 462 million doses. Distributing that monstrous quantity of any item is a severe issue, but with the added complication of vaccine storing conditions, the task is a logistical nightmare. All of the different sectors such as public communication campaigns, inventory level management, and much more must constantly be working together. During a worldwide pandemic, that is much easier said than done. 


     As mentioned above, there are four companies developing the coronavirus vaccine that are currently in phase three testing, where they test the vaccine on a large scale to figure out further risks and side effects, among other research. The first of the companies, which currently has the most promising vaccine, is Pfizer. They are working together with a German partner: BioNTech.  The second company is Moderna, the third is AstraZeneca working with the University of Oxford, and the final company is Johnson & Johnson.


     Pfizer’s vaccine runs into the most issues with shipping. It needs to be kept at -94 degrees Fahrenheit, which is obviously extremely cold. During shipping, the vaccines need to be kept in a special box with dry ice. The 1,000-,1,500 doses in each box will last for up to 15 days, as long as the boxes are not opened more than twice a day, and for no longer than a minute each time. The dry ice must be replenished every five days. Before use, the vaccines need to be thawed out in a normal refrigerator, where it will only last for another five days. In clinics that do not have ultra-low temperature freezers, managing the process will be extraordinarily difficult. However, Pfizer is not worried. They are currently shipping out 7.6 million doses per day, and that number will be sure to rise.


     The vaccines from the other companies are much easier to work with. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine only requires one dose, which greatly reduces the amount of logistical planning. Moderna’s vaccine can last for up to 30 days in temperatures of 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about the temperature of most household refrigerators. At -4 degrees Fahrenheit, they can last for six months. 


     Hopefully, with these new developments in the coronavirus vaccine, we have taken a huge leap forward in the war against this worldwide pandemic. Looking at the current statistics, you should be confident that soon enough, we will pull through and resume a normal life.


Source: CNBC News