Ahead of 2021, around 3 of the COVID-19 vaccines have been accepted by central governments around the globe. Two of these vaccines use brand-new technology called messenger RNA, and one uses a partial virus to create the immunity that people need to fight off the virus. As the calendar turns, there will be another batch of vaccines that go through phase three trials and eventually be approved by governments helping the world return to normal.
The distribution of vaccines has been slow. In December, both the U.K. and the United States reported a mutated virus that spreads rapidly in several locations. The need for vaccine distribution is crucial but has been slow to get out of the gate. Here is everything you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines.
A New Variant Immurges
The need for vaccine distribution is crucial. Initially, the U.S. government expected 20-million doses to be distributed by the end of December 2020. As of December 29, only 2.1-million doses have been given. The need to quickly distribute the new vaccines is vital in stopping the virus’s spread, especially now that it has mutated. On December 30, California announced that authorities had discovered the nation’s second confirmed case of the new and more contagious variant of the coronavirus.
California’s announcement came 24 hours after the first reported U.S. variant infection, which emerged in Colorado. That person was recognized Wednesday as a Colorado National Guardsman who had attended a nursing home coping with an outbreak.
A Light at the End of the Tunnel
While the distribution is painstakingly slow, there is some good news. In 2020, 3-new vaccines were approved that will fend off the coronavirus. Two of the vaccines, the ones made by Pfizer and Moderna, are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. These vaccines work in a new way.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, mRNA vaccines protect against infectious diseases by triggering an immune response in a new way. As opposed to placing a weakened virus into our bodies, mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. That immune response originates antibodies, which preserve us from getting infected if the actual virus enters our bodies.
One of the issues with both vaccines is that they need to be stored at frigid temperatures. Pfizer’s vaccine must be stored and shipped at -94°F to remain effective. Despite the fanfare, Pfizer share trading shows the stock up 1.74% in 2020, after hitting a high in December, up 19% for 2020. Moderna’s vaccine should be stored at -4°F. The Moderna vaccine can be stored up to 30 days in normal refrigerator conditions, the Pfizer vaccine, up to 5 days. Besides, both have a cold-storage shelf life of up to 6 months. Moderna’s stock price is up 470% in 2020.
U.K. Officials Greenlight AstraZeneca Vaccine
British health officials confirmed the AstraZeneca and Oxford Covid-19 vaccine in the final days of December. Similar to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, this is a two-dose product. The U.K.’s Covid-19 vaccine chair said a single dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca’s vaccine was around 70% effective from 21 days until a second dose was taken. Likewise, the AstraZeneca vaccine is closer to a standard vaccine and does not use messenger RNA. Instead, this vaccine uses an infected cell from a Chimpanzee, which cannot spread in humans to evoke an immune response.
The Bottom Line
The upshot is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Three vaccines have been approved with millions of people infected by the COVID-19 virus and new mutations infecting people. Generally, it takes years for vaccines to hit the market. The issue with the vaccines is not their efficacy. Instead, the governments can distribute the vaccines that are coming to light.