At the time of publishing, it's been 253 days since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (but who's counting, right?) and finally, hope is on the horizon.
Finally, Some Good News
On November 9th, pharma giant Pfizer announced late-stage trials of its COVID vaccine saw a 90% effectiveness rate (which has since been updated to 95%) and on November 16th, Moderna boasted an equally as impressive 94.5%, providing a glimmer of light at the end of this very long, very dark tunnel. While the data hasn't been peer reviewed, this is pretty remarkable given it's been less than a year since COVID officially entered our lives and traditional viral vaccines à la the flu shot typically post an effectiveness rate between 40%-60%.
We're Living in the Future, Man
Unlike traditional vaccines that introduce a weakened version of the virus for the purposes of creating antibodies, Pfizer's and Moderna's first-of-their-kind mRNA vaccines actually teach your cells to create antigens (whaaaaaaat) and are believed to be much safer for the recipient. Side effects, while still present, have been reported to be similar to those associated with the flu vaccine.
But First, More of the Same
Before we all go out in the streets celebrating (seriously don't do that) there's another issue we have to contend with; COVID infections and hospitalizations are increasing at early-pandemic rates. Hospitalization and infection rates are increasing in almost every state and Texas just became the first state to pass 1 million infections. In Europe, several governments have reimplemented lockdown policies as infections skyrocket. Regardless of what the future holds for COVID infections, one thing is clear: a vaccine would provide welcome relief for the nightmare that is this pandemic.