I can’t develop vaccines, save lives in the ICU or even put shots in arms, but I’ve gotten pretty good at finding COVID-19 vaccine appointments - Summer Hull
Persistent hype around mRNA vaccine technology is now distracting us from other ways to end the pandemic. But here’s what we know today, based on information that we have right now: Among several wonderful options, the more old-school vaccine from Novavax combines ease of manufacture with high efficacy and lower side effects. For the moment, it’s the best COVID-19 vaccine we have.
The question about how Covid-19 vaccines stand up to coronavirus variants often gets distilled to: Do they work?
The simplest answer is yes. People who’ve received one of the highly powerful vaccines don’t need to be too worried about the variants for now,
There’s growing evidence that inoculation confers significant protective benefits.
The uniting thread is that vaccine hesitancy tends to have staying power in tight-knit communities where people can reinforce one another’s beliefs. What someone accepts as evidence is individual, Parrish-Sprowl says, but it’s also shaped by the people around them.
Does that mean we can all take a giant garbage bag and rid the house of every last face covering we own for once and for all? Probably not. And that’s for a few reasons.
Collaborating with devoted colleagues, Dr. Kariko laid the groundwork for the mRNA vaccines turning the tide of the pandemic.
At a pivotal moment in the pandemic, Nature explores key questions about the vaccines that countries are racing to deliver while viral variants spread around the globe.
COVID-19 vaccinations are expanding…To the point where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's safe for vaccinated people to travel.
But so-called "vaccine passports," for those who have received them are sparking debate over vaccine equity. Many developing countries are still struggling to obtain the vaccine.
The world is still vaccinating the few while neglecting the many.
Expect life to return to normal in 3 stages — not all at once.
It’s unlikely the United States can overcome the pandemic without such actions.
The answer is straightforward: All three vaccines that are currently available have been shown to be safe and effective. In other words, it does not matter which approved vaccine a person gets, and any option is far better than no shot at all.
Some scientists have raised concerns that the safety risks of Covid-19 vaccines have been underestimated. But the politics of vaccination has relegated their concerns to the outskirts of scientific thinking—for now.
As growing numbers of younger adults get vaccinated against covid-19, social media is awash with conversation about side effects, which appear to be more common in young people. What kind of side effects can people expect...
Risks of rare allergic reactions, blood clots and maybe heart problems don’t outweigh benefits.
The federal administration has not yet announced which countries are to receive these essential resources. So far, the US has shared about 4.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine with Canada and Mexico.
With just over 3% of Canadians fully inoculated against COVID-19, a growing number of America's northern border states and communities have stepped up to offer excess vaccines to Canadians.
Scientists are asking a lot of questions about Covid-19 booster shots, but they don’t yet have many answers. Here’s what they know so far.
Intramuscular injections aren’t necessarily the best mode of delivery for vaccines—they’re just the most common. Pharmaceutical companies likely chose them for the first vaccine candidates because they’re a tried-and-true method of delivering antigens, tiny molecules that jump start the immune system’s antibody production, and speed was paramount.
VACCINE roll-out in a growing number of countries should eventually allow life to return to normal, but it is unlikely that we will be able to eradicate the coronavirus that causes covid-19 altogether.
“I don’t see that these vaccines will be eliminating SARS-CoV-2 any time in the coming years,” says Kingston Mills at Trinity College Dublin.
Questions of equity, access, and privacy demand answers before a vaccine passport will work.
Earlier STAT published a head-to-head comparison of the vaccines developed by Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech, and by Moderna, which have been in use in the country since December. We have updated it here with information about the J&J vaccine.
In the absence of clinical trial data, how should people with autoimmune conditions approach the risk/benefit analysis of getting vaccinated? Here’s what several experts had to say.
As we enter the second year of living with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the virus is celebrating its invasion of the world’s population with yet more mutated forms that help it to spread more easily from person to person.
Covid-19 health pass apps could help reopen businesses and restore the economy. They could also unfairly exclude people from travel and workplaces.
The EU’s vaccine rollout is a mess—and that’s bad news for everyone else, too.
We've looked into some of the most widely shared false vaccine claims - everything from alleged plots to put microchips into people to the supposed re-engineering of our genetic code.
Reports of Covid-19 cases that appeared shortly after a single shot of a two-dose vaccine shouldn’t cause concern.
The COVID-19 vaccine will make some people feel sick. But they’re not—that’s the immune system doing its job.
The potential for a vaccine brings with it hope that the pandemic will end, but naturally raises questions.
A vaccine for adults and older teens has been authorized. But younger children will have to wait. Here’s what parents need to know.
It may be a while. Here’s what parents can do in the meantime while their kids aren’t vaccinated and others are.
The US has a long history of abusing minorities for pharmaceutical profit. Messaging for a Covid-19 inoculation will have to overcome that past.
Doctors answer questions about quarantining, getting the vaccine and resuming daily activities.
It’s possible we’ll get a coronavirus vaccine sooner, but it’s far from guaranteed.
Vaccines are traditionally administered with a needle, but this isn’t the only way. For example, certain vaccines can be delivered orally, as a drop on the tongue, or via a jet-like device.
Vaccines that appear particularly suitable to needle-free technology are DNA-based ones, including a COVID-19 vaccine being developed in Australia.
The world is currently on pause, buying time while an effective vaccine against COVID-19 is developed. Already, several vaccines have entered human trials, and discussions have begun about how the most promising candidates might be manufactured.
Covid-19 vaccines can help stop the pandemic only if people trust them and want to be vaccinated. To earn and keep the trust of the American people, our government needs to ensure three key needs are met before launching any immunization campaign...
Primarily, it's facial swelling and redness of the area. Those are the most common and might last a few days.
As the world awaits a vaccine for COVID-19, Salk recalled an era when polio terrorized the country every summer.
Anti-vaxxers are flooding social media with misinformation about the development and side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Many countries may opt to use less protective COVID-19 vaccines that are more affordable and available instead of waiting for better, costlier shots. But even the lowest reported efficacy so far, for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, could powerfully curb COVID-19’s toll.
The billionaire is working with the W.H.O., drugmakers and nonprofits to defeat the coronavirus everywhere, including in the world’s poorest nations. Can they do it?
Bill Gates saw the coronavirus coming. Here’s his plan to beat it.
Patience is essential for those who ply the science of vaccines. But in that field, challenging economic conditions and a forbidding regulatory system converge with the immune system’s complexity and the resilience of microscopic pathogens. Add in drug companies’ preference for big profits and the result is a trash heap of failed and abandoned efforts.
The first COVID-19 vaccines are being administered. There are, however, still great challenges ahead when it comes to making sure that people receive the vaccine sooner rather than later.
The J&J vaccine uses a different approach to instruct human cells to make the SARS-2 spike protein, which then triggers an immune response. It is what’s known as a viral vectored vaccine. A harmless adenovirus — from a large family of viruses, some of which cause common colds — has been engineered to carry the genetic code for the SARS-2 spike protein. Once the adenovirus enters cells, they use that code to make spike proteins. J&J employs this same approach to make an Ebola vaccine that has been authorized for use by the European Medicines Agency.
The 19th-century invention of vaccination created a new national imperative for the UK to combat endemic smallpox. The risk of dying from smallpox for those who contracted it was substantially higher than that for COVID-19 today. Survivors gained immunity but often at the cost of physical scarring and long-term health problems.
Vaccination and subsequent elimination should have been a no-brainer. Yet local and regional outbreaks persisted across the 19th century.
Here are some reasons to be optimistic. One, this virus can be cured. Unlike some viruses such as HIV that embed their genome in our own and make fresh copies of themselves after immune elimination, we know that SARS-CoV-2 is unable to persist in this way.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recognised that the potential benefits of vaccination are particularly important for some pregnant women. This includes those who are at very high risk of catching the infection or those with clinical conditions that put them at high risk of suffering serious complications from COVID-19.
We will utilize GPS-enabled thermal sensors with a control tower that will track the location and temperature of each vaccine shipment across their pre-set routes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
As the virus that causes COVID-19 continues its global attack, it has done what scientists predicted it would do — it has given rise to new, slightly different strains. How significant some of those strains will be to the pandemic is now under intense study. Meanwhile, demand for the currently available vaccines is outstripping the early supply, and some scientists have sparked controversy by suggesting holding off on booster shots until more people have had their initial shots. That's something the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not endorse — but the agency has extended the timing on the second dose a bit.
As countries and companies race to produce a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine, here’s a guide to the front-runners.
A preliminary report posted online claimed that a mutation had made the virus more transmissible. Geneticists say the evidence isn’t there.
Americans won’t have a choice for quite a while, but it’s worth knowing the differences between the vaccines.
Pfizer and Moderna both use this tech in their breakthrough vaccines. But how does it work? And is there a catch?
Human testing in clinical trials is divided into three phases. Ensuring the safety of a vaccine is the prime concern through all phases of clinical trials. Vaccine efficacy is evaluated in different ways across the trial spectrum. Early-phase trials look for the production of antibodies against the virus, while late-phase trials evaluate whether the vaccine in fact prevents people from getting sick.
Social media is already filling up with misinformation about a Covid-19 vaccine, months or years before one even exists.
More than a dozen frontrunners have reached late-stage clinical trials.
When the immune system first encounters a vaccine, it activates two important types of white blood cell. First up are the plasma B cells, which primarily focus on making antibodies. Unfortunately, this cell type is short-lived, so although your body might be swimming in antibodies within just a few weeks, without the second shot this is often followed by a rapid decline.
Then there are the T cells, each of which is specifically tailored to identify a particular pathogen and kill it. Some of these, memory T cells, are able to linger in the body for decades until they stumble upon their target – meaning immunity from vaccines or infections can sometimes last a lifetime. But crucially, you usually won't have many of this cell type until the second meeting.
Healthcare workers first, along with residents and staff of nursing homes. Those people should receive the COVID-19 vaccine before anyone else, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.
That recommendation applies to the U.S. But what about healthcare workers in other countries? Or the elderly with health conditions?
Developing an effective vaccine is the first step. Then comes the question of how to deliver hundreds of millions of doses that may need to be kept at arctic temperatures.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called it "the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes".
But away from the high-tech science of finding a winning formula, what about the logistics of rolling out a vaccine to seven billion people worldwide?
There’s still a long way to go, but also a reason for hope.
An immunization shot is still in development, but debate over who gets priority has already begun.
As many as one in five Americans would refuse to take a coronavirus vaccine, according to a new poll that follows a surge of anti-vaccine content online.
Messenger RNA may not be as famous as its cousin, DNA, but it’s having a moment in the spotlight. This crucial intermediary in the protein-making process is now being harnessed by scientists to to try to protect us from disease — including Covid-19.
Countries are grappling with uncertainties about vaccine supplies and how protective various shots will be, while racing to combat new variants and save lives.
As long as seniors and essential workers are immunized, deaths will drop and life can resume.
Debate is rising among scientists about whether a so-called human challenge trial is worth the risk.
If all goes well, the fast-tracking of vaccine development, which normally takes years, will have been telescoped down to about a year. To date, the fastest a vaccine was ever developed was four years.
People Are Willing to Risk Their Lives for a COVID Vaccine. Should We Let Them?
The technique, called a human challenge trial, has been used to evaluate other vaccines.
Researchers begin tests to study effects of following an initial dose with a booster from another manufacturer.
Dr. Larson, 63, is arguably the world’s foremost rumor manager. She has spent two decades in war torn, poor and unstable countries around the globe, as well as in rich and developed ones, striving to understand what makes people hesitant to take vaccines.
Yes, you can and should get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are either pregnant or breastfeeding.
An important reason is that COVID-19 is more severe during pregnancy.
Some allergists and immunologists believe a small number of people previously exposed to PEG may have high levels of antibodies against PEG, putting them at risk of an anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine.
In an ideal world, everyone would want to be vaccinated against Covid and there’d be enough vaccine to do that job. We don’t live in that world.
As Covid-19 vaccines go into broad use, some rare side effects of vaccination will almost certainly emerge, like the reports of small numbers of people developing anaphylaxis. But so will medical events whose timing just comes down to random chance — and the potential ripple effects of those reports already have experts concerned.
The very first vaccine candidate entered human trials—and Neal Browning’s arm—on March 16. Behind the scenes at Moderna and the beginning of an unprecedented global sprint.
Inside a university scientist’s relentless toil to develop a COVID-19 vaccine—and her optimism about the process.
Side effects are just a sign that protection is kicking in as it should.
It is called synthetic messenger RNA, an ingenious variation on the natural substance that directs protein production in cells throughout the body. Its prospects have swung billions of dollars on the stock market, made and imperiled scientific careers, and fueled hopes that it could be a breakthrough that allows society to return to normalcy after months living in fear.
Medicines should be distributed equitably, but the neediest are seldom at the front of the line.
We trace the extraordinary research effort, from the discovery of the virus’s structure to the start of inoculations this week.
It's hard to know exactly how many doses are being thrown out across the country, but Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University, said strict guidelines around vaccine eligibility are causing surplus doses to be discarded.
As health workers wait to be vaccinated, the wealthy are jumping the queue to get jabs on "vaccine holidays" in places like Dubai and Goa.
The COVID-19 vaccines furthest along in clinical trials are the fastest to make, but they are also the hardest to deploy.
"One of the questions that I'm asked all the time is, 'Hey, doc, which vaccine are you waiting for?' And the answer is ... I'm going to take any of those vaccines that's made available to me that's authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration," he says. "Don't overthink it. Don't wait. Get what vaccine you can."
Even as vaccines for the disease are being held up as the last hope for a return to normalcy, misinformation about them is spreading.
New vaccines are falling short of the spectacular expectations set by Pfizer and Moderna. The world still needs them.
Two doses, separated by three to four weeks, is the tried-and-true approach to generate an effective immune response through vaccination, not just for COVID but for hepatitis A and B and other diseases as well.
The first dose primes the immune system and introduces the body to the germ of interest. This allows the immune system to prepare its defense.
No mRNA vaccine has ever been mass-produced to fight a disease — coronavirus would be the first.
The coronavirus serum requires health-care providers to contend with bigger shipping, storage and patient-monitoring hurdles.
There’s so much about the US response to the pandemic that has been botched. We failed on testing early and then failed to scale it up. We failed on contact tracing and on reopening many of our communities safely. But we haven’t screwed up a vaccine campaign yet.
There’s still time to get it right. Trump endorsing a vaccine that’s shown to be safe and effective is a decent start — even if it comes with a heap of undue boasting.
“So far, what we’ve seen in the animal data and data from phases 1, 2, and 3 [human] trials shows a favorable safety profile,” Dr. Adalja says.
Racism in the health care system is part of the reason that the NMA exists. The American Medical Association, which set standards for the profession, repeatedly denied membership to Black doctors — so in 1895, they founded a group of their own, “conceived in no spirit of racial exclusiveness, fostering no ethnic antagonisms, but born out of the exigency of the American environment.”
A number of variables can affect when herd immunity is reached — and what it costs to get there — and they vary depending on the disease. How infectious is the disease? How deadly is it? And how long do people stay immune once they’ve gotten it?
Only by vaccinating millions of people, and monitoring how their immune systems react, will experts get a better handle on what it takes to extinguish COVID-19 or at least make it much more difficult for it to spread.
Because T cells get involved after an infection is underway, O'Brien said this suggests that even if a particular vaccine is not good at preventing infection by a variant, it may at least still end up substantially reducing the infection's severity.
Since Covid-19 vaccine administration began around the world, side effects have been more severe in women. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during the first month of vaccine administration, 62% of the doses in the US were given to women, but 71% of the side effects were reported by them.
One explanation is that estrogen produces a stronger immune reaction, intensifying the overall symptoms felt after the vaccine. Similar effects have been observed with other vaccines, too.
Public health messaging around the J&J is especially tricky because the efficacy numbers can obscure nuances about how it was studied. The trials were conducted in different countries during different times of the pandemic than the two other vaccines. And of increasing importance: the J&J was tested in places where new, more dangerous variants of the virus were already circulating.
"These vaccines are all remarkably effective and there isn't sort of a vaccine that's better or worse than any others," said Jason Schwartz, an assistant professor of public health at Yale University.
Vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech effectively protect recipients. But in a worrying sign, they are slightly less effective against a variant found in South Africa.
Keep in mind, the side effects we're discussing here aren't the ones so serious they cause entire vaccination sites to shut down or lead to further studies on the viability of the vaccine as a whole. So, we're not going to discuss the more serious aftereffects, for instance, that have led to a temporary halt to the administration of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in Colorado recently – when more than 26 individuals faced "adverse reactions" to inoculation, including fainting. Or the concern about blood clots and AstraZeneca.
It's more the everyday things...
Pfizer, Moderna and J&J are among the companies working on new vaccines that would protect against the South Africa strain better than current shots do.
People who are pregnant or breastfeeding in the US could choose to get the vaccines, or wait until more data comes out this spring.
Drugmakers are facing challenges in manufacturing vaccines and building supply chains to meet the demand for COVID-19 vaccines. Pfizer has even lowered production targets. Scarcity of vaccines has prompted calls for a Band-Aid-like strategy to stretch the precarious supply.
Americans won’t have a choice for quite a while, but it’s worth knowing the differences between the vaccines.
Admittedly, it makes some sense to begrudge people who seem to be malingering to jump the line. Especially when they’re crowing about it on Instagram. This one can’t have a BMI over 18. And oh, come on, “migraines” — those have to be garden-variety headaches.
The resentment is understandable. Over the last bruising year, we’ve grown accustomed to supply shortages and grinding competition for resources. Shelves were bare of canned goods, toilet paper, even yeast. And forget about N95 masks.
IT IS looking likely that covid-19 vaccines will have to be updated in the coming months to remain effective against new variants of the coronavirus. Several vaccine manufacturers have confirmed that they are already working on new versions of their vaccines to make sure they remain effective. But what does updating the vaccines involve and how long will it take? At least two vaccines are less effective against the B.1.351 variant of coronavirus that was first identified in South Africa.
Early data on why health care workers are delaying the Covid-19 vaccine could help us end the pandemic sooner.
"Knowing what I know about the [mRNA vaccine's] mechanism of action, I would anticipate that this vaccine should be very safe in pregnancy," Jamieson says.
The three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are safe and effective and were made in record time.
But they aren't ideal.
An ideal vaccine — besides being safe and effective — would have a few other desirable characteristics, says Deborah Fuller, a vaccine researcher at the University of Washington.
Such a vaccine would be "administered in a single shot, be room temperature stable, work in all demographics and, even pushed beyond that, ideally be self-administered," she says.
Should we really be vaccinating our children if the disease has very little adverse consequences for their age group? Historically, we have immunized against diseases like polio and diphtheria that were a clear danger to children.
It could take years to immunize everyone, so we need to work on discovering new treatments as well—and fast.
The best Covid-19 vaccine for you is most likely still the first one you can get.
As a physician, clinical researcher, and epidemiologist, I am thrilled with the vaccine data so far. The 95 percent efficacy of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines is unprecedented and better than any of us hoped for.
But we need to be careful. We need to temper our enthusiasm with the acknowledgment that the vaccine is a weapon we may not be fully prepared to wield.
A lot can still go wrong.
The case for going simpler on vaccine distribution.
This plug-and-play technology is revolutionizing vaccinology.
The creation of VaccinateCA underscores the growing frustration in California with the state’s handling of the pandemic and vaccine distribution.
Experts say the coronavirus vaccine should feel about the same as any other intramuscular vaccine shot when the needle pierces your skin en route to your deltoid, a muscle that has been deemed an easy target.
"If you are advised to have the vaccine because you are clinically vulnerable or a healthcare worker, you are advised to have the vaccine and wait three months after the first dose before trying to conceive,"...
Here are the COVID-19 vaccine prospects that have made it to phase three trials and beyond.
Concerns about vaccination are unfortunate, but they have historical roots.
California has one of the nation’s worst vaccination rollouts. Residents are crowdsourcing the info the state government should be providing.
This page is updated regularly.
At current pace, it could take into 2022, although Biden administration’s efforts and vaccines in development may speed pace.
Researchers are testing 64 coronavirus vaccines in clinical trials on humans. Here are explanations about how nine of the leading vaccines work.
While states have set the priorities for inoculations, many have pushed the responsibility for administering them onto individual hospitals, clinics and local public health agencies.
Readjusting our ideas about what’s safe is going to take time.
A study finds that mothers who have been vaccinated are passing on precious immunity to their newborns.
A well-organised network of international anti-vax accounts is pumping harmful vaccine misinformation into Africa’s social media ecosystem, threatening to undermine the continent’s fragile COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Side effects will usually present in the first 24-48 hours after vaccination. We know from AusVaxSafety surveillance and safety data from overseas they usually last less than two to three days, and nearly everyone who experiences side effects is back to normal one week after vaccination.
Will you need a booster? Does it matter if you got Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, or another vaccine?
We’re only talking about Covid-19 vaccine breakthrough infections because the pandemic is still raging.
Such mRNA vaccines have many benefits. They are quick to design, so once the manufacturing platform is set up, mRNA vaccines can be designed to target different viruses, or variants, very quickly. The vaccine manufacturing is also fully synthetic, and doesn’t rely on living cells like chicken eggs, or cultured cell lines. So this technology is here to stay.
However, there are still issues we need to improve on to help make mRNA vaccines become more practical and affordable for the entire world, not just first-world countries. Here are four areas mRNA vaccine researchers are working on.
Expect snafus. Expect confusion. Despite the best of intentions and months of painstaking planning to figure out how to get vaccines to people in an ethical order, doing so is going to be a gargantuan and sometimes messy task.
Now that there are authorized and recommended vaccines to prevent COVID-19...
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is a global partnership launched in 2017 to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics.
CEPI, Gavi and the WHO have launched COVAX to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and end the acute phase of the pandemic by the end of 2021.
The purpose of the project is to monitor public confidence in immunisation programmes by building an information surveillance system for early detection of public concerns around vaccines; by applying a diagnostic tool to data collected to determine the risk level of public concerns in terms of their potential to disrupt vaccine programmes; and, finally, to provide analysis and guidance for early response and engagement with the public to ensure sustained confidence in vaccines and immunisation.
FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, is currently tracking the development of treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 (coronavirus). This tracker contains an aggregation of publicly-available information from validated sources.