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these are the answers to the most common questions

Moderna’s vaccine, easier to store 1:36

. –– Good, and much-needed, news has arrived about covid-19 vaccines. A second American vaccine was found to have a high success rate against coronavirus. Moderna announced on Monday that its vaccine was 94.5% effective against covid-19, according to the first data.

Vaccinations could begin in the United States by the second half of December, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The first to receive them would be the high-risk groups and, in spring, it could be available to the rest of the population, according to Fauci.

Here are some answers to common questions about the covid-19 vaccines that are being developed to prevent coronavirus.

Doesn’t it take years for vaccines to be safely developed? How have these covid-19 vaccines developed in just 10 months?

Most of the vaccines we use today took years, and in some cases decades, to develop. However, governments have invested huge amounts of money in companies and institutions that develop vaccines. For example, with initiatives like Operation Warp Speed ​​in the United States and the Vaccine Taskforce in Great Britain.

Moderna’s vaccine is 94.5% effective 1:09

The pandemic has given a boost to the scientific community around the world. And in that sense, groups of researchers in dozens of countries are on an accelerated quest to understand how the virus works.

The so-called Operation Warp Speed ​​has also developed protocols to allow clinical trials to progress more quickly. Furthermore, industrial-scale manufacturing of vaccines has taken place before we knew whether they would be effective. This means that we have millions of doses ready to use.

How effective are these vaccines?

The vaccine developed by Pfizer, which announced its first successful results last week, and that of Moderna are more than 90% effective, according to the first data. It is a higher rate than many vaccines for other diseases. However, the results are extremely preliminary and are not what the health authorities will use to authorize the vaccines.

In Moderna’s trial, 15,000 study participants were given a placebo, which is a saline injection with no effect. Over several months, 90 of those people developed coronavirus. Another 15,000 participants were given the vaccine, and five of them developed covid-19.

Among those given a placebo, 11 became seriously ill, but none of the participants given the vaccine became seriously ill.

The director of the International Vaccine Institute, Dr. Jerome Kim, praised the first data from the biotechnology company Moderna on its candidate vaccine against covid-19. He noted that it is a ‘proof of a concept’ but cautioned that it is still premature in terms of follow-up effectiveness.

“I think this is really great news. And, in a way, confirmation that RNA vaccines can protect against infectious diseases. It is also a good example that covid vaccines are a possibility, “Kim told CNN on Monday.

“It will be very important to know what the effectiveness is, not at two months, but at six and twelve,” he said.

There are still many unknowns about how the new covid-19 vaccines would work in practice. It is not clear whether they would prevent infection entirely or make serious illness less likely. Doctors also don’t know how long your protection will last.

Reactions to the 94.5% effectiveness of Moderna 1:09 vaccine

However, Fauci said it is “the best possible” under these circumstances. He had previously said that he would settle for a vaccine that was 70% to 75% effective.

Vaccines have various efficacy rates. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a full round of polio vaccines is 99% to 100% effective. In comparison, a complete vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis is 80% to 90% effective. While the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine varies from year to year.

How safe are vaccines and are there any side effects?

Moderna said her vaccine had no significant side effects. A small percentage of those who received it experienced symptoms such as headaches and body aches. It is similar to what people can get after a flu shot. Also, it is a sign that the vaccine is working to create an immune defense.

«They do not report security problems. The main side effects are injection site pain, fatigue, muscle or joint pain, and headache that seem to occur more frequently after the second injection, ”explained Dr. Penny Ward, Visiting Professor of Pharmaceutical Medicine at King’s College London, to the SMC.

“Clearly, we still need to look at the full scientific details in a publication to be able to independently judge the results,” he added.

After a vaccine is cleared for emergency use in the US, the CDC will continue to monitor for side effects. In that sense, they will evaluate if any represents a security problem that justifies a change in the recommendation.

How do these vaccines against covid-19 work? I’m worried they sound experimental

Vaccines often mimic part of the virus they protect against, triggering a response from your immune system.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use a new approach that has not yet had an approved vaccine. Although, sñu has been studied in clinical trials for other viruses.

The challenge of distributing the Pfizer vaccine 0:38

The two vaccines use genetic code instead of any part of the virus itself, with a technique called messenger RNA, or mRNA. Vaccines deliver mRNA, which is a genetic prescription. In this case, the genetic recipe orders the cells to form pieces of the spikes that are on top of the coronavirus. Once injected, the body’s immune system produces antibodies that recognize these spikes. If a vaccinated person is later exposed to the coronavirus, those antibodies must be ready to attack it.

The fact that Moderna and Pfizer independently produced very similar results with the same technique is a vote of confidence in gene technology, according to experts. Also, their results could make it much easier and faster to produce other vaccines.

“With this technology, candidate vaccines can be produced substantially faster in the future to combat virtually any infectious disease, by producing vaccines against existing pathogens and currently unknown future pathogens,” said Zoltán Kis, Research Associate at the Future Vaccine Manufacturing Hub. , Imperial College London, to the SMC.

Other companies develop vaccines using other techniques. For example, the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine was made with a modified chimpanzee virus, which is harmless, while the traditional route is to use the inactivated virus.

I want to get vaccinated! When can I do it?

While Fauci said he expects the first COVID-19 vaccines to begin in late December, initially there will not be enough for everyone. The highest priority groups will receive the vaccine first. These include healthcare workers, the elderly, and people with underlying medical conditions.

“I think everyone else will start getting vaccinated towards the end of April,” Fauci said. And that will extend to May, June, July. It will take a couple of months to do it, ”he explained.

The British government has asked the National Health Service (NHS) to be ready to roll out a vaccine from early December.

What if I am elderly, pregnant, or clinically vulnerable?

Is the end of covid-19 near with the Pfizer vaccine? 1:32

Among the 30,000 participants in Moderna’s clinical trial, more than 7,000 Americans were over the age of 65, the company said. It also included more than 5,000 Americans under the age of 65, but with high-risk chronic diseases that put them at greater risk of severe COVID-19. Among those conditions are diabetes, severe obesity, and heart disease.

The study also included more than 11,000 participants from communities of color, representing 37% of the study population. Which, according to Moderna, is similar to the diversity of the American population. This includes more than 6,000 participants who identify as Hispanic or Latino and more than 3-000 participants who identify as Black or African-American.

Noubar Afeyan, Moderna’s co-founder and president, said the company did not see “any difference in results” between subgroups in its COVID-19 vaccine trials.

“Moderna actually slowed down the recruitment for the trial slightly to ensure we had substantial representation. And it turns out that 37% of our tests were people, subjects, who consider themselves of color, “Afeyan said on CNN International on Monday.

“In general, it appears that the vaccine works widely in all population groups,” he added.

However, we do not know anything about the groups that did not participate in the clinical trial, such as children or pregnant women.

Urgent questions remain to be answered. These include how long these vaccines will be effective and whether they work in different populations, across all age groups, ethnicities and people with previous health problems, ”said Charlie Weller, director of vaccines at Wellcome, a research charity. medical.

“Only when the trial is complete will we be able to assess the full efficacy and safety of any vaccine candidate,” he said.

Dr. Felipe Lobelo: The Pfizer vaccine is good news, but it is preliminary data 0:50

Will vaccines against covid-19 be mandatory? What happens if I decide not to get vaccinated?

Some people will consider it their patriotic duty to get vaccinated, but others may not. Britain has said it will not make vaccination mandatory. For his part, Fauci has pointed out that it will probably not be mandatory to get vaccinated.

If you decide not to get vaccinated, this has broader implications. Not only will you not have protection against COVID-19, but you could potentially hamper community, or herd immunity. This protects high-risk groups that may not be able to receive the vaccine.

It is estimated that a COVID-19 vaccine will need to be accepted by at least 55% of the population to provide immunity to the community, according to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Some scientists even anticipate that even higher numbers will be needed.