Will people line up for a COVID-19 vaccine?

QUICK READ: As COVID-19 vaccines enter Phase III trials one has to wonder just how transparent pharma companies will be with the data. Personally I would want to know as much as I can before I ask for the vaccine but I also know that greed can make people do stupid things and there is a lot of money at stake here.

The rush to develop a COVID-19 vaccine is well underway because there are billions of dollars in profits at stake. However, in a survey 49 percent of the Americans polled said they plan to get a coronavirus vaccine when one is available, 20 percent do not, and 31 percent indicated that they were not sure.

Let’s be clear about something. The evidence that would convince people to get a COVID-19 vaccine, or to recommend that my loved ones get vaccinated, does not yet exist. In fact, some companies are playing games with the data endpoints.

An editorial in today’s Times said it pretty clearly “I’m a vaccine researcher, and even I would place myself in the “not sure” bucket. What we have right now is a collection of animal data, immune response data, and safety data based on early trials and from similar vaccines for other diseases. The evidence that would convince me to get a Covid-19 vaccine, or to recommend that my loved ones get vaccinated, does not yet exist”.

Phase III trials are underway but how transparent will drug companies be with the data? Will they let us know how many people got sick from the vaccinations and what the major symptoms were? Will we have transparent data around test versus control groups? These are questions the FDA is going to need to be answered without someone behind the scenes massaging the data to get approval.

When, and If a vaccine is finally available you can bet the media is going give the drug company a colonoscopy. They are going to dig up everything they can from how much money it cost to develop the vaccine to what executives are getting as compensation while people can’t afford it.

In talking to someone from the press last week he asked me if the goodwill that pharma has been seeing will evaporate if they charge a lot of money for a vaccine. My response was “of course it will”. You see the pharma industry has never ever shown that they really care about their customers. To them providing solutions for our bad health is profitable.

I am an optimist by nature and hope that a vaccine will be developed after all the data is reviewed and agreed upon but I’ve seen too many drug companies make decisions based on what’s best for the share price not patients.