Question of the year: When is the COVID-19 vaccine coming?


TOPSHOT – Heather Lieberman (L), 28, receives a COVID-19 vaccination from Yaquelin De La Cruz at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida, on August 13, 2020. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer announced a significant progress in it’s COVID-19 vaccine trial on Monday, but many are still impatient to know exactly when the vaccine will be ready for distribution.

The early trials of Pfizer’s vaccine has shown 90-percent effectiveness so far and has brought optimism in fighting the coronavirus. The trials included 44,000 participants.

Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, professor of Public Health at New Mexico State University, told KTSM 9 News that the vaccine has shown great results, but those results need to be carefully monitored.

Khubchandani said Pfizer did not publish the full study, which would show the sample of people tested. In order for the vaccine to be as effective as possible, it has to be tested on groups of people representative of the whole population.

He said that enough pregnant women, older population and those with chronic diseases need to be a part of the sample to show its true effectiveness.

“We need to be very careful (about) the misinformation that has been floating around. People are believing that they can have the vaccine as of tomorrow,” said Khubchandani.

He said with the emergency use authorization given by the Food and Drug Administration, the vaccine could be ready as early as the beginning of 2021, but only for those who need it most: medical workers.

For the general population, Khubchandani said, we could be expecting the vaccine no sooner than the end of 2021, but even then it will be a slow process.

“World Health Organization had suggested the biggest threat to global health security is vaccine hesitancy — one of the biggest threats we have,” Khubchandani said.

This means that if only part of the population decides to take the vaccine, this doesn’t protect them or the ones who did not take it against COVID-19, according to the doctor.

“My argument is that most vaccines are effective to the ability of about 50 percent,” said Khubchandani. “We have irrefutable evidence that wearing a mask can reduce transmission by 40 to 50 percent.

“We have seen thousands of studies get retracted in this pandemic. We had vitamin D first, then Zinc and then I got a text message about snake oil, and none of them have shown efficacy,” Khubchandani continued, adding that even with the vaccine ready to use, we will be wearing our masks for at least another two years.

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