SUMMARY: The numbers game for COVOD-19 vaccine makers has started but what most of the public, and the media, don’t understand is that the preliminary numbers don’t mean a damn thing until they are peer-reviewed.
Moderna said their Covid vaccine is more effective than Pfizer’s, with nearly 95% efficacy. The problem is that until the data is viewed by scientists and physicians outside the industry their claim should be viewed with a high dose of skepticism.
The announcement of the effectiveness is one thing, but approval is another. Assuming both Moderna & Pfizer vaccines are granted FDA Emergency Use Approval status, what’s going to happen when the media picks up on stories of severe side effects from those who receive the vaccine. The other issue is “with so much money at stake, can we really trust that the data is 100% accurate?”.
The resurgence of COVID-19 is partly due to COVID-19 fatigue. People are tired of quarantining and wearing masks which in turn has lead to a relaxed atmosphere. I’ve been tracking comments on social media and the number of people who believe that a COVID-19 diagnosis is “no big deal” because the death rates have been decreasing is troubling.
It’s also interesting to note that Republicans are less likely than Democrats to take COVOD-19 seriously. A lot of that has to do with the endless conspiracy theories that abound on social media.
According to Pew Internet “Mask was the single most-used term among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, who were roughly twice as likely as Democrats and Democratic leaners to mention it in the context of negative effects from the outbreak (19% vs. 10%, respectively)”.
The speed and scope of distributing a COVID-19 vaccine is a huge challenge – a level of herd immunity needs to be established, which means inoculating not just millions, but billions of people in a short time period, in order to starve the virus out as no one wants an encore appearance of 2020. This comes with its own set of challenges.
Right now, the public needs to take the responsibility of wearing masks and limiting crowds. It’s not a matter of personal freedom; it’s a matter of possibly spreading the virus to others who may not have any immunity. Until the COVID-19 vaccine is approved with peer reviews, we shouldn’t get too excited.