Sorry, the COVID-19 vaccine won’t make life go back to normal right away

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If you were hoping that the new COVID-19 vaccines could make it possible to stop wearing masks and social distancing, think again. Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine might get FDA emergency use authorization in a few weeks, and a small group of Americans might begin getting shots in December. Moderna’s vaccine might quickly follow. But even for those who can get vaccinated soon—potentially 20 million people in the U.S., out of a population of more than 320 million—life won’t be able to go back to normal yet. Read Full Story

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This Gates-backed, MIT-based biotech company solves a key vaccination problem

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Immunization (including the COVID-19 vaccine) often requires more than one shot. What if the first shot included time-release particles that automatically gave you the second shot at the same time? One of the logistical challenges with COVID-19 vaccines is the fact that many of the vaccines in development—including from Pfizer and Moderna—require two doses. If it’s hard to deliver a vaccine to nearly the entire global population once, it’s even harder to do it twice. The same problems exist for many childhood vaccines, and that’s one reason that children in the developing world are often undervaccinated. Read Full Story

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The Gates Foundation is helping back a $3 COVID-19 vaccine

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The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is already producing millions of doses of one vaccine, so it’s ready if it passes its clinical trials. One of the biggest challenges for a coronavirus vaccine, assuming one or more of the 200-plus vaccines now in development succeed in their trials, will be making sure that the whole world, not just the wealthiest countries, has access. Rich countries like the U.S. are paying billions in advance to reserve vaccine doses for their own citizens—but vaccine nationalism can’t solve the global problem. Any successful vaccines will need to be manufactured at an unprecedented scale, and be cheap enough that they’re affordable everywhere. Read Full Story

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COVID-19 vaccine update: Young people might have to wait until 2022, says WHO

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“People tend to think that on the first of January or the first of April, I’m going to get the vaccine, and then things will be back to normal. It’s not going to work like that.” As there are fewer than three months left to the year, and as another COVID-19 vaccination trial has been forced to hit the pause button , it’s looking increasingly unlikely that there will be a COVID-19 vaccine this year. Read Full Story

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Moderna chief medical officer: Vaccinated adults could still infect the unvaccinated with COVID-19

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The vaccines ‘do not show that they prevent you from potentially carrying this virus . . . and infecting others.’ We’ve gotten three incredibly good pieces of news in as many weeks when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of the last three weeks saw the announcement that another SARS-CoV-2 vaccine has shown promising results and is waiting on regulatory approval so distribution can begin. For some, like front-line healthcare workers, the vaccine could be delivered as early as December. But for most, it’ll be late spring to summer before the mass rollout of vaccinations begins. Yet even then, things may not “get back to normal” as quickly as we’re all hoping it would once a vaccine became available. Read Full Story

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COVID-19 update: Chinese vaccine maker claims 79% efficacy as U.K. approves AstraZeneca

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The two announcements provide a welcome shot in the arm for global health efforts amid reports of a new mutation of the coronavirus. Despite a slow start to U.S. vaccinations, there was good news abroad this week as the United Kingdom gave emergency-use authorization to the COVID-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. Meanwhile in China, the state-backed drugmaker Sinopharm reported nearly 80% efficacy for its own vaccine candidate, following an interim analysis of Phase 3 clinical trials. Read Full Story

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Bill Gates says he’s ‘not optimistic’ COVID-19 vaccines will successfully complete trials before end of the year

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“There’s no case where we get much below the current death rate, which is about 500 deaths a day, but there’s a significant risk we go back up to the even 2,000 a day.” COVID-19 vaccine trials are well under way, but Bill Gates is not optimistic that phase III of these trials, which measures the efficacy and safety of a vaccine in a wide group of users, will be successful before the end of the year. Read Full Story

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How to build an equitable vaccine passport that respects people’s privacy

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Rebuilding trust in our institutions starts with empowering individuals to control their own data. One of President Joe Biden’s executive orders aimed at curbing the pandemic asks government agencies to “assess the feasibility” of linking coronavirus vaccine certificates with other vaccination documents and producing digital versions of them. A vaccine passport, an official document that shows your vaccination status, may soon be required to work or travel. Airlines, industry groups, nonprofits, and technology companies are building a version of this idea that you can display on your mobile phone as an app or part of your digital wallet. Read Full Story

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