MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Several coronavirus vaccines are in development, but the two ready for approval are from Pfizer and from Moderna.
“The FDA was prepared to perhaps even do an emergency authorization for a vaccine that had 50 percent efficacy and these vaccines are taking an upward trend of 90 percent. One at 95, the other at 94. That is much better than we hoped.”
Both vaccines developed at a rapid pace.
But Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist, says trials enrolled tens of thousands of people and both reported the vaccines were well-tolerated.
However, she mentioned it is normal for the public to question the vaccines because, in reality, she says there are still unknown.
“We still have no idea about the groups that were not in the study, for example, there are no pregnant women in the study and there are no children in the study, except there were some children 16 and older in the second phase study of the Pfizer group.”
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Dr. Marty said on Friday the National Vaccine Advisory Committee discussed these two groups of people and have not decided to proceed in testing pregnant women.
“It is a very large concern when you consider that CDC advisory council is recommending that we vaccinate the health care workers in long-term care facilities.”
“We know that 75 percent of health care workers in this country are women and a sizeable portion of that 75 percent are women in reproductive age.”
“It becomes imperative that we know sooner rather than later how safe the vaccines are with pregnant women because how the immune system works in pregnant women is different than how it works in a non-pregnant individual.”
Both vaccines are a new type called M-RNA. They contain genetic information, instructing cells to produce harmless COVID-19 proteins, to trigger an immune response.
“There is some question as to what messenger RNA crossing the placenta and getting into the fetus could possibly do to a very rapidly because a fetus grows at tremendous rates. Lots of genetic information crosses as an embryo grows.”
So is it safe? Who should take the vaccine once it’s available?
Dr. Marty says she agrees with the CDC that those most at risk, including health care workers, those with underlying health conditions, and individuals 65 and older should consider taking a vaccine once it is available.
“The reality is that there will not be many vaccines right away and by the time most people will be eligible for the vaccines, we will have a lot more information.”
The consensus in the medical community is that 76 percent of the population needs to get vaccinated for life to get back to normal.
Right now, according to Gallup, only 58 percent of Americans say they’ll get the vaccine.