It’s Worth a Shot

It could take one vaccine to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., and it’s up to the companies to decide which solution is effective


Edie Pilarski, Editor

Many COVID-19 vaccines are currently in the making around the world, and trials are occurring to see if they will be effective. The virus that causes COVID-19 is SARS-CoV-2, and it could take about 12-18 months to develop a safe vaccine against it. There are various companies taking time to figure out what will work or what will fail. 

Pharmaceutical companies are racing to make a vaccine that will successfully protect against COVID-19. Some of the companies are Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer (in collaboration with BioNTech), Moderna and Novavax. 

Most of the companies are using a common technique, which involves using inactive and small forms of the virus in the vaccine to trigger the immune system. Certain companies, such as Pfizer and biotech Moderna, are using messenger RNA to create vaccines. However, the use of mRNA in vaccines has not been approved yet. 

“I would get the new vaccine because I know if I take it, I’m not only protecting me, but I’m also protecting family members, elders, and friends. Also, the vaccine would prevent/slow the growth of cases and deaths,” junior Josef Gojcaj said. 

There is a partnership among the CDC, the FDA, the HHS, the NIA, BARDA, and the DoD. The partnership is called “Operation Warp Speed” and the goal is to create and distribute 300 million doses of effective vaccines by January 2021. The public-private partnership has spent $10 billion to help the companies with the process of making the vaccines, and to produce them at a fast rate. 

If the goal of producing safe vaccines by January is reached, then the partnership will distribute them to as many people as possible. There have been debates about whether or not the U.S. will share the vaccines with the rest of the world, but they are planning to distribute them to American citizens first.

According to CNN, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, said a vaccine for COVID-19 may be available earlier than expected if the ongoing clinical trials produce positive results. 

Companies must go through a three-phase process to ensure that vaccines are ready to distribute. In Phase I, the vaccine is given to small groups of people. With Phase II, more individuals are given the vaccine, but it is given to those with specific characteristics. Phase III is the final step, as the vaccine is given to thousands of people. Sometimes, companies will stay in Phase IV, which is when the use of the vaccine is being monitored and studied. 

“I think it’s only necessary that we find a solution sooner or later so everyone can eventually get back to their normal routines,” senior Diana Gjokaj said.

It is unknown when vaccines for COVID-19 will be safe and ready for use. However, many companies are in the late stages of trials, which implies they are getting closer to finding the perfect solution. Through trial and error, the world must wait for the outcomes of the upcoming vaccine. If the goal is reached, vaccines could slow down the spread of the virus in the U.S. and other countries.