Could We See A COVID-19 Vaccine Before Christmas?

Pharmaceutical corporations Pfizer and BioNTech said that a COVID-19 vaccine is getting closer to being ready for the masses — and it's a "strongly effective" one, at that. According to CNN, the vaccine that is in the works has the capability to be 90 percent effective. That's because, of the 43,000 volunteers who received either two doses of the vaccine or a placebo, less than 10 percent of the first 94 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection were found in people who had been given the vaccine, while 90 percent of infections were detected in volunteers who had been given the placebo. 

This is very encouraging news, as no vaccine attempts thus far have proven to be this successful. America's new favorite infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, even weighed in, calling it, "Extraordinarily good news!" That being said, this doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet, and world leaders are urging caution. At a press conference on Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned: "'I just don't want to let people run away with the idea that this development is a home run, a slam dunk, a shot to the back of the net, yet. There's a long way I am afraid before we have got this thing beaten" (via Daily Mail).

Don't plan on adding a vaccine to your Christmas list

While experts are optimistic about the vaccine's potential, it's best not to expect it this year. "There is a slim chance," says venture capitalist Kate Bingham. "I think it's more likely that it'll be in early next year" (via CBS News). And even if we do see a vaccine then, Bingham explains that it'll first go to those who require it more severely: the elderly, the vulnerable and health care workers. Bingham adds, "So I think we're going to have to find vaccines that will provide as much protection as possible, and then we're likely to have to give booster vaccines, much like ... a flu shot." 

While smaller amounts of vaccines might be available by Christmas — a projected 50 million globally — if this drug turns out to be effective enough to release to the masses, Pfizer says we could see nearly 1.3 billion available in 2021. 

This news is certainly a breath of fresh air, as Covid-related news as of late has been especially somber given the amount of cases rising globally. "I've been in vaccine development for 35 years," says William Gruber, Pfizer's senior vice president. "I've seen some really good things. This is extraordinary. This really bodes well for us being able to get a handle on the epidemic and get us out of this situation."

However, it's important to heed the British PM's advice and continue to take this pandemic just as seriously as ever.