Family Healthcast: Questions about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine answered

Family Healthcast

(WSYR-TV) — The buzz this week is about the encouraging news about one of the coronavirus vaccines. Pfizer’s vaccine appears to be 90% effective.

Now, we have several questions about the vaccine.

Influenza vaccines are 40 to 60 percent effective at best because the influenza virus keeps evolving into new forms every year. By contrast, two doses of the measles vaccine are 97% effective.

There should be enough vaccines by the end of the year for 15 to 20 million people to get an intial shot and a booster three weeks later.

Exactly who will qualify for the initial doses has not been decided, but groups that are at higher risk for infection, or are more vulnerable to the virus, are likely to get priority.

That could include healthcare workers as well as older adults and those who have risk factors like obesity or diabetes.

Another open question is whether children will get protection from the vaccine. The trial run by Pfizer and BioNTech initially was open to people 18 or older, but in September they began including teenagers as young as 16.

Last month, they launched a new trial on children as young as 12 and plan to work their way to younger ages.

There are 10 other vaccines now in late-stage trials across the globe. The fact that Pfizer and BioNTech have gotten encouraging results is making experts optimistic about the entire field.

One researcher says, “It gives us more hope that other vaccines are going to be effective too.”


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