Should we trust a vaccine that was developed in less than a year?
Researchers had a head start with the development phase of the vaccine. They were able to build on many years of research that was already done with previous respiratory viruses such as the viruses that caused SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). Since there are other coronaviruses similar to COVID-19, their research mimicked those of prior clinical trials. There was immediate funding available due to the dire state of COVID-19 infections globally. Also, it can take longer to test a vaccine if a virus is isolated to a specific population, but this was not the case with COVID-19. Researchers often have to wait for a certain number of people in studies to get infected, but because COVID-19 struck swiftly and easily, the trials were able to be completed quicker. However, the researchers have stressed that no steps in the normal vaccine development process have been overlooked.
How many times do I need to get the vaccine? Will it be treated similarly to the yearly flu shot?
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines do require patients to get vaccinated twice, which are given 21 (Pfizer) and 28 (Moderna) days apart. Senior citizens and healthcare workers are given first priority when administering the vaccine.
How long will it take to vaccinate everyone in the US with a COVID-19 vaccine?
The FDA states that it could take up to a year to vaccinate North Americans with the cooperation of state and local officials.
Will the vaccine significantly reduce the risks or complications of COVID-19?
Early clinical trial findings have shown that the vaccines may be 94-95% effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Researchers believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you from experiencing severe symptoms, even if you do get COVID-19. But mainly, getting vaccinated may significantly prevent you from spreading the virus to your loved ones when you’re around them.
If I contracted COVID-19 previously and recovered, should I get vaccinated?
This is still being researched, but experts are working to find out how long after infection is someone protected from getting COVID-19 again AKA building natural immunity. Early data suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long.
Do we still need to wear masks after getting vaccinated?
Wearing masks and social distancing are still the best tools in your arsenal toward preventing the spread and ultimately flattening the curve. Until your entire state has received the vaccine, keep your masks on.