The first coronavirus vaccine will likely get authorized within months, but that will only be the beginning of what’s likely to be a long, chaotic vaccination process, the New York Times’ Carl Zimmer reports.
The big picture: The first vaccines probably will offer only moderate protection against the virus, meaning we can’t ditch our masks even if we get one. And we probably won’t have a good way to choose between these vaccines once several of them are on the market.
- Some vaccines that are in earlier stages of development today may struggle to cross the finish line, even if they work better than earlier vaccines.
- And some vaccines may be pulled off of the market because they’re unsafe.
Between the lines: Some of this is inherent to the breakneck speed of the vaccination effort, but some of it is a result of how that effort was designed.
- Earlier this year, some government scientists had wanted to test vaccine candidates against each other, instead of testing all of them against a placebo. But these kinds of trials are risky for drug companies, because they show the value of one vaccine against another.
- That information could be useful for patients, but is a business risk for manufacturers.
- “You have to have the total cooperation of the pharmaceutical companies to get involved in a master protocol,” top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told NYT. “That — I don’t know what the right word is — didn’t turn out to be feasible.”