HealthConnections: Milestones in the Search for a COVID Vaccine

Dec 1, 2020

Before Thanksgiving, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna announced encouraging news from their experimental COVID-19 vaccines: They worked.

Not only did the vaccines help keep people safe from the capricious and easily-spread virus, they did so at a rate much higher than federal health officials expected or required. November 30, Moderna submitted clinical data for FDA review in hopes of securing emergency approval to begin distributing its vaccine as soon as this month. Pfizer asked for emergency approval November 20. The FDA is expected to respond to both requests in short order.

Nationwide, states are gearing up to receive the first doses of what could be humanity's first powerful shield against a virus for which we have no natural immunity. But there are still outstanding questions about how to store the vaccines, who gets the doses first, and whether enough people will ultimately get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

University of Tennessee College of Nursing professor Dr. Carole Myers explores these and other issues in this edition of HealthConnections.