Will there be a COVID-19 vaccine available to the public soon?


Syringe 5 With Drops / ZaldyImg / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A syringe with unknown contents is photographed above an empty row of seats.

Belief: There is a new COVID-19 vaccine, specifically Pfizer’s, that will be available shortly to everyone.

Reality: The Pfizer vaccine is still undergoing a clinical trial. However, after the required two months of safety data are collected, Pfizer hopes to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

According to their early data, on Nov. 9, Pfizer and its partner BioNTech announced that their COVID-19 vaccine is over 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in previously unaffected volunteers.

The vaccine requires two doses, with the second dose being administered three weeks after the first dose. However, there are concerns about distribution.

By the end of the year, Pfizer plans to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses for global use. According to the New York Times, half of those doses may go to the United States, meaning 12.5 million Americans could receive the vaccine. By the end of 2021, Pfizer hopes to manufacture up to 1.3 billion doses.

However, before vaccines can be shipped or administered, state and federal governments must decide where and how to distribute them. Then, medical suppliers will need to coordinate with hospitals to deliver the necessary supplies required. Additionally, hospital employees will need to learn how to properly store and administer the vaccine. Also, all of this hinges on the assumption that Americans will choose to get vaccinated.

There are many other factors to consider as well. Since the vaccine must be stored at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit or minus 70 degrees Celsius, those living in rural areas may be at a disadvantage.

Currently, the specifics of how a COVID-19 vaccine would be distributed remain unknown.