Other Vaccines

February 8, 2021

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Anchor lead: How does having two very effective vaccines complicate the vaccine picture worldwide? Elizabeth Tracey reports

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines currently being used against Covid-19 report 90%+ efficacy, but Sinovac, the Chinese vaccine currently being used in South America, comes in at only 50.4%. Brian Garibaldi, a critical care medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, says we shouldn’t scoff at lower efficacies. 

Garibaldi: When this all started the FDA set its bar at 50% efficacy, so the fact that the first two vaccines happen to be incredibly effective, in some ways kind of hurts the overall development. What is the threshold at which we would find a new vaccine acceptable? We said 50% when we started, now we have this great 95% vaccine, but if there’s a vaccine that’s 80%, that’s really good and if you had told us five months ago, hey we have a vaccine that’s 80% effective against this virus, you would have said, sign me up, give it to me right now.  :30

Garibaldi notes that in order to vaccinate the majority of the world’s population, several different vaccines are likely to be needed, especially ones that don’t require cold temperatures or may need only one dose. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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