ACIP COVID-19 vaccine priority proposal – healthcare workers first

ACIP COVID-19 vaccine priority

On 1 December 2020, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) COVID-19 vaccine priority recommendations were discussed. As I have written recently, Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca all have announced that their vaccines exhibited high effectiveness and safety during phase 3 clinical trials, while both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are seeking emergency use authorizations (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so these vaccines may become available within a few weeks.

This is a brief review of the ACIP and CDC COVID-19 vaccine priority lists for the first tranches of vaccines.

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Will the Pfizer Moderna AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines end the pandemic?

Pfizer Moderna AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines

There has been a lot of excitement lately with the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines lately, but I wanted to temper your enthusiasm thinking the pandemic is going to be over in a few weeks, and we can all hit the pub, drinking with our friends, family, and neighbors. 

If anything, I would strongly recommend wearing a face mask across the world until a substantial number of people are vaccinated, and that may take a lot longer than you thought. By the way, more recent scientific evidence supports the FACT that when both individuals are masked, there is almost no transmission of viruses. 

So, let me explain why, despite the good news, we still need to protect ourselves from the coronavirus. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but don’t be confused by the recent announcements by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna regarding their COVID-19 vaccines – there is still a lot of hard work to be done.

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mRNA vaccines will harm your DNA!!! Nope, more anti-vaxxer nonsense

Once the new COVID-19 mRNA vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were both announced to have very high safety and effectiveness, the anti-vaccine religion began its disinformation campaign using fear, uncertainty, and doubt. I won’t link to any of those ignoramuses who are posting this garbage, because I don’t want them to have any traffic that comes from this article. But I am sure if you’re following the world of COVID-19 vaccines, you have heard some of it.

I’m going to delve into the world of mRNA vaccines while trying to refrain from giving a cell biology lecture. Unfortunately, it’s going to take a cell biology lecture to explain how mRNA vaccines work, and how there are no biologically plausible reasons to hypothesize that mRNA vaccines can harm your DNA. None. Nada. Nichts.

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Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine review scheduled for December 10 by FDA

pfizer COVID-19 vaccine review

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine review meeting for its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on 10 December 2020. It is intended to discuss and review the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

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Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for COVID-19 – differences and similarities

If you are an American, you probably could not avoid noticing the news that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for COVID-19 have shown >90% effectiveness in preventing the disease over the short-term. And both companies would probably be seeking an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the USA for use of their vaccines in groups who are most in need of protection from COVID-19. 

Even though I’ve discussed the positive and negative points about the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, I think it’s important to highlight the similarities and differences between the two vaccines. Also, please note that these vaccines probably will be released first in the USA, especially Moderna who received support from the Federal Government through Operation Warp Speed (Pfizer opted out of it). There are several other vaccines in phase 3 clinical trials that could be seeking a EUA sometime in the near future in the USA and Europe. 

COVID-19 vaccine candidates in phase 3 clinical trials – the official list

Moreover, there are over 200 COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development, with dozens in phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials. By early 2022, we could be comparing 10 or 15 vaccines that might be entering the market. 

But this article is just going to focus on the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. I’m going to hit the key similarities and differences between the two vaccines. I may conclude with my opinion on which one will be successful, but we might not know for years which of all of these vaccines are the “best.”

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Moderna COVID-19 vaccine – more good news that requires skepticism

Like Pfizer announced recently, Moderna Therapeutics has released preliminary results for its COVID-19 vaccine. And like Pfizer, Moderna’s data is very exciting but, and there’s always a but, the data has not been peer-reviewed or analyzed independently.

To be fair, I’ve been highly critical of Moderna because of their lack of transparency and the overreliance on press releases to boost their stock prices. For many pharmaceutical companies, like Merck or Pfizer, vaccines make up only a tiny portion of their revenue and profits. For Moderna, their whole reason for existence is vaccines. So if they have a blockbuster vaccine, their stock prices skyrocket. 

That being said, there are some reasons to get somewhat more excited about the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine over the Pfizer one. So, let’s take a look.

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COVID-19 vaccine candidates in phase 3 clinical trials – the official list

COVID-19 vaccine candidates

Keeping up with COVID-19 vaccine candidates in clinical trials has gotten out of hand, so keeping up with these clinical trials have become almost impossible. For brevity, I have made the editorial decision to update this list to include just those vaccines in phase 3 clinical trials, which means that they are within the final stages of clinical assessment. 

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed over 200 COVID19 vaccine candidates, which is amazing, but it is still too difficult to tell which ones will be successful or not without reviewing the actual data. Just because it’s in a phase 3 trial does not mean it will work.

Right now, there are nearly 50 COVID-19 vaccine candidates in phase 1, 2, or 3 clinical trials – this article will only focus on those in phase 3. 

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Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine news – should we pump the brakes just a bit?

pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Recently, we saw a lot of news about the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine –  it seemed to show about a 90% effectiveness in preventing the disease. This is potentially good news in preventing the spread of this disease because alternatives like herd immunity is a disastrous form of genocide.

But, what does this news actually mean? Does it imply that the world is saved, and soon we can eschew masks and social distancing? Does that mean the pandemic will come to an end?

We need to know if the COVID-19 vaccine actually does what Pfizer claims. We need to know if it is safe. And we need to know when the vast majority of people can receive the vaccine. When we know all of that, we can then see the light at the end of the tunnel for this deadly pandemic.

Let’s take a skeptical look at the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine along with what it may mean to the world. I’m writing this in the form of several questions that I have with the answers as I know them. 

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ACIP COVID-19 vaccines meeting – summary of August 2020 discussions

This article about the August 2020 ACIP COVID-19 vaccines meeting was written by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), who is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy, and the law.

Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about the social and legal policies of vaccination. Additionally, Reiss is also a member of the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable disease.

On August 26, 2020, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) held an emergency meeting to discuss COVID-19 vaccines. This was an emergency meeting, as opposed to one of its three annual scheduled meetings, but it was not “emergency” in the sense of being unplanned – it was announced long in advance, and the announcement was repeated during the June and July emergency meetings.

The ACIP COVID-19 vaccines meeting consisted of four to five hours of presentations from the COVID-19 vaccines workgroup, convened in April, and one hour of public comments that included multiple pro-vaccine speakers and four anti-vaccine individuals.

The main takeaway most people would have from the meetings are, I expect, the same as mine – that COVID-19 vaccines safety is taken extremely seriously by the workgroup and the committee, that there is still a lot of uncertainty about which of the vaccine in the pipeline will be effective, and that there are thorny, hard questions in deciding how to allocate the first vaccine doses.

This will be a very short overview of the meeting. The next meeting is on September 22, and I encourage and urge people to listen and learn from it. The presentation slides for the previous meetings can be found here. Continue reading “ACIP COVID-19 vaccines meeting – summary of August 2020 discussions”

Coronavirus vaccine clinical trials – keeping up with everything out there

coronavirus vaccine clinical trials

This article about coronavirus vaccine clinical trials will be regularly updated as new clinical trials are registered or early results are published about an ongoing trial. Again, this article will focus on coronavirus clinical trials – treatments and diagnostic tests are outside of the scope of this article.

Keeping up with COVID-19 vaccine candidates has gotten out of hand, so for brevity, I’ve created a separate list of coronavirus vaccine clinical trials. The interest in clinical trials for a new vaccine is unprecedented, so I thought this might be the best way to keep loyal readers up-to-date.

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed over 110 vaccine candidates, which is amazing, but it is way too difficult to tell which ones have any chance of actually becoming a real product.

Right now, there are numerous vaccine candidates in clinical trials – this article will analyze these coronavirus vaccine clinical trials.

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