COVID-19: When can we expect a vaccine?

Jackson Gordon ’22
Science & Tech Editor

The coronavirus of 2019, or more commonly COVID-19, has been around for almost a year at the time of publishing.

Virologists have been working hard to find a vaccine since the disease was first detected in December of last year.

Billions of dollars have been invested in these vaccines and five companies have finally produced working vaccines that are all in stage three of testing as determined by the Centers for Disease Control. AstraZeneca, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Moderna, Novavax, and Pfizer are the five companies with working vaccines.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine is being tested in the UK and Brazil and is the vaccine with the most potential. This vaccine has an efficacy of 90% when participants were given two shots: one half dose and one full dose a month apart. AstraZeneca is seeking an Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organization to accelerate their vaccine’s use in low-income countries.

The next vaccine being developed is by Janssen. Janssen has just started testing its vaccine in around 6,000 people in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Janssen is ready to produce millions of these vaccines.

Moderna’s vaccine has an efficacy of 94.1%, the highest of any mass tested vaccine. Moderna is planning to ship the vaccine by the new year if it gets approval. They plan on charging 32-37 USD (41-48 CAD) per dose of the vaccine in developed countries but will have cheaper prices in less developed countries.

Novavax has its vaccine in small clinical trials and will begin larger trials in the United Kingdom in early 2021. Their vaccine is believed to be even more effective than Moderna’s, but it has not undergone any large-scale testing, so it will not be ready for distribution as soon as the others.

Pfizer has a vaccine that is already being used in the United Kingdom. Canada will wait until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration makes a decision about a vaccine before deciding. If the Canadian government has not already made their decision, they will decide soon.

Canadians are expected to be able to access a coronavirus vaccine by the spring of 2021. If Canada can secure enough vaccines, the entire country could be protected by next winter.

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