Is the vaccine rollout working?
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
There is promising news from the clinical trials of the Pfizer vaccine where children have an efficacy rate of accurately 100 percent.
Because of the number of vaccines that are currently available, many think there is a chance that the coronavirus pandemic will end this summer as more people get their first dose of the vaccine. In Canada, the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine is speeding up as more shipments of the Pfizer vaccine arrive and the United States loans leftovers of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine yet to be delivered to the country but there are production problems with the vaccine that could lead to it being delayed, as well as questions about the side effects of the vaccines.
In British Columbia, we are now in phase three where more age groups will be able to book an appointment to get the vaccine as well as more essential workers including teachers and grocery workers getting priority access to the vaccine. For these individuals, they will get the AstraZeneca vaccine which has been involved in a lot of controversies. There was mixed messaging that the vaccine should not be given to anyone under 65 years due to the risk of blood clots. This was caused by a manufacturing error in one of the batches that were distributed in Europe and did not affect the shipments for Canada which were made in a different factory in India. Both Health Canada and the European Union determined that the chance of getting a blood clot from the vaccine is rare and both organizations revised their recommendations on the vaccine. However, Health Canada had to revise it again after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization found out that the blood clots can happen to anyone 55 years and younger, especially with women.
When real world data was incorporated, it revealed that the AstraZeneca vaccine has a higher efficacy rate at 76 percent and this may encourage more people to get the vaccine when it is their turn. Currently, they are testing the vaccine on children under 18 years old and can even speed up the rollout process when they are approved for children. There is promising news from the clinical trials of the Pfizer vaccine where children have an efficacy rate of accurately 100 percent.
Also, the efficacy rate of the vaccine was updated to 91 percent and discovered that it has six months of protection after the second dose. So far, the most common side effect of the coronavirus vaccine is swelling in the injection site which is common with the flu shot.
These mishaps could slow down the shipment of vaccines that are arriving in the country, but when more vaccines are approved and the current vaccine problems are resolved, we could be on track for the pandemic to possibly end soon.