The COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Mohamed Eltayeb

Coronavirus is continuing its spread across the world dangerously, yet there has been some good news regarding the vaccine.

COVID-19 is affecting 218 countries and territories around the world. Several countries face renewed lockdowns as cases continue to surge. More than 61.69 million global cases and at least 1.44 million tragic global deaths have been reported. As news of the vaccines’ progression grows, questions still remain on who is getting vaccinated first and which vaccines are they getting vaccinated with? 

Who is getting vaccinated first?

Health-care professionals, essential works, senior citizens, and individuals with underlying conditions are expected to get the vaccine’s first doses. But there has been a global debate between health officials on which group gets vaccinated first. In the US, the underlying agreement has been that health care workers come first, but questions have been raised around fairness in the distribution of doses. Is a hospital janitor considered a priority, or is a nurse and doctor ahead of the line? However, it is not up to the federal government. The states ultimately decide uniform decisions since every state has a different group of population in need.

Canada and the European Union (EU) both have different approaches to their distributions of vaccines. Canada is operating its strategy on public opinion, which is under the impression that the elderly and those with preexisting conditions come first. While the EU has held vaccines for 430 million people, practically every EU resident.

In the UK, the focus is on health workers, the elderly in care homes, older residents and eventually younger residents.

In India, a country of 1.35 billion people, the task is much more challenging. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says private and government health care workers will receive the initial doses and residents above 65 years old. But distributing millions of doses throughout the country will be difficult, as well as tracking the doses. Questions on who will be paying for the vaccine has been raised. Concerns of corruption and fake vaccines are also being raised. Nonetheless, India has an impressive track record of immunizing its population every year. The country makes 60% of the world’s vaccines and is home to several manufactures.

The two East Asian nations that have handled the pandemic significantly better than the rest of the world, South Korea and Taiwan plan to distribute enough vaccines for around 60% of their populations. Similar to other countries, they both plan to prioritize vulnerable groups.

But not everyone needs to receive the vaccine when it arrives. Epidemiologists predict that between 60% and 70% of the population needs to be immune to the virus to reach “herd immunity.” Herd immunity is when a majority of the population becomes immune to the disease, which slows down the spread of the disease from person to person, ultimately limiting the transmission of the virus.

The vaccines

There will be more than one vaccine circulating the world in the hope of stopping the transmission of the virus and allow the world to return to normal again. Presently there is no vaccine yet officially authorized or endorsed by health officials to prevent COVID-19. However, the US has five vaccines set in Phase 3 of clinical trials. Those vaccines are listed below.

  • AstraZeneca’s/Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine
  • Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine​

As of this week, the AstraZeneca/Oxford team announced that its coronavirus vaccine reduced the risk of symptomatic COVID-19 patients by 70%. The Janssen team is currently recruiting thousands of volunteers worldwide as it commences its Phase 3 global trials. The Moderna’s vaccine is operating at 94.5% effectively towards the virus. Its project has been considered groundbreaking in the health world since it took only two days to design the vaccine. Novavax, a small company in relation to the other vaccine maker companies, has been considered an underdog in the race to save the human race from the ongoing pandemic. Nonetheless, Novavax is just beginning its Phase 3 clinical trials. Pfizer made announcements that its vaccine was 95% percent effective with no severe side effects. The trial, which began under a year, has broken records for the vaccines’ quickest development. United Airlines has already agreed to provide transportation for distribution if officials approve the vaccine.

The future remains to be seen

Assuming safe and effective vaccines are developed, countries in the world are preparing for joint transportation systems to quickly and securely transport the vaccine. Nevertheless, there is still work to be done. Trials must be conducted and concluded to ensure the vaccine is suitable for combatting the virus, and officials must approve the vaccine before its distribution. Moreover, while the virus may be prevented from spreading, it won’t be gone. Researchers still need to find out how to confront the virus accurately, so it doesn’t mutate into something more robust.

To contact Mohamed Eltayeb. you can reach out to him via e-mail ( or Twitter!

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