Will We Be Assured with a COVID-19 Vaccine?

November 30, 2020
Kevin Kunzmann

A look at the logistical questions which remain with the two leading candidates.

In coming weeks, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be considering the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) applications for 2 coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines.

Pfizer’s BNT-162b2, and Moderna’s mRNA-1273, both mRNA platform vaccine candidates which have been associated with promising preliminary efficacy results in past weeks, are anticipated to be the first vaccines regulated for preventing COVID-19 in the US.

Among the most pressing questions remaining on their benefit, potential, and utility, are the safety of the vaccines, as well as their distribution.

In the next segment of an interview with Contagion®, Sam Fazeli, of Bloomberg Intelligence, discussed the matter of properly transporting and storing tens of millions of vaccine doses in the coming weeks—particularly BNT-162b2, which is associated with distinct temperature-centric distribution needs.

That said, Fazeli can’t imagine a scenario where countries like the US, UK, France and Germany could not easily manage the matter of mass vaccine refrigeration.

“The ebola vaccines, never used at the level of the work we need to do now, required that temperature,” Fazeli said. “They’re used in countries where you think it’d be an issue. I’d have to assume we can solve this.”

On the subject of vaccine benefit, Fazeli anticipated that people will need to accept these 2 mRNA candidates will be the primarily distributed vaccines in the coming months—and that a major swing in safety data would have to change that plan.

What matters now is addressing growing discussions of vaccine hesitancy or outright denial of efficacy.

“Because whoever is perpetrating and magnifying these things, there will be someone who gets a bad fever, a terrible headache, really bad chills, or needs to go to the hospital, and those stories will unfortunately be magnified,” Fazeli said. “We need to educate, we really need to run campaigns to make sure people realize that hundreds of millions of live has been saved from vaccines so far.”