COVID-19 Vaccine Development

COVID Vaccine FAQS

Vaccine Development Overview

Public health officials have been preparing for this vaccine before the virus was first discovered in 2019. Two previous coronaviruses, SARS, that emerged in China in 2002 and MERS, that emerged in the Middle East in 2012 taught us a lot about developing a safe and effective vaccine for a coronavirus. The COVID-19 vaccines have been produced faster than any other vaccine, but they have followed the very same process as any other vaccine, including studying tens of thousands of participants of different ages, races and ethnicities.

The key processes that allowed for more rapid vaccine development include:

  • Head start using SARS/MERS research
  • Overlapping trial phases saves time
  • Build factories and produce vaccines while trials are still underway
  • Set up distribution plan early
  • Emergency use authorization for rapid approval once trials are finished
  • Phased vaccine delivery to get vaccine quickly to those most in need

 

Safety

Vaccines must meet the highest standards of safety and have minimal side effects because they generally are given to healthy people to prevent disease. Vaccines undergo strict regulatory control by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with other federal agencies, is committed to assuring the safety of vaccines through rigorous pre‑licensure trials, as well as post-licensing monitoring. The United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccines in its history.

The Richmond City and Henrico County Health Districts share the goal of ensuring safe vaccines, and the safety of our residents is our number one priority.

PROGRESS METER

Quick guide to the status of leading vaccine candidates

Moderna:

Pfizer:

Johnson & Johnson:

AstraZeneca/Oxford University:

For more in-depth news, see the QUICK FACTS below.

 

 

LEADING VACCINE CANDIDATE QUICK FACTS

Moderna

Vaccine type: mRNA
Trial began: Phase 3 trials began July 27, 2020
Trial size: 30,000 volunteers across U.S.
Applied for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA): November 30, 2020
Approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA): December 18, 2020
Doses expected: 500 million to 1 billion doses in total for 2021.
Efficacy: Moderna reported that the vaccine is 94.5% effective and results are consistent across age, race and ethnicity.
Safety: Studies have not found serious side effects, but participants have reported sore arms, fatigue, fever, and joint and muscle aches that last for a day or two.
Distribution update: Delivered to Phase 1 beginning December 2020.

Pfizer/BioNTech

Vaccine type: mRNA
Trial began: Phase 3 trials began July 27, 2020
Trial size: 44,000 volunteers across U.S.
Current phase: Approved for EUA by FDA and preparing for distribution
Applied for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA): November 20, 2020.
Approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA): December 11, 2020.
FDA Approval: August 23, 2021
Doses expected: 50 million doses available by the end of the year, and up to 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.
Efficacy: Pfizer reported that the vaccine is 90-95% effective and results are consistent across age, race and ethnicity.
Safety: No serious side effects reported (4% reported tiredness after second dose; 2% reported a headache after second dose.) Older adults reported milder side effects.
Distribution update: Being delivered to Phase 1 as of December 2020.

Johnson & Johnson

Vaccine type: Modified adenovirus
Trial began: Phase 3 trials began September 2020
Trial size: 43,783 volunteers worldwide
Current phase: FDA EUA Approved
Applied for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA):  February 4, 2021
Received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA):  February 28, 2021
Doses expected: 20 million doses available in March 2021, and up to 100 million by the middle of 2021.
Efficacy: Data from the Phase 3 ENSEMBLE study that demonstrated the vaccine was 85 percent effective in preventing severe disease across all regions studied, and showed protection against COVID-19 related hospitalization and death, beginning 28 days after vaccination.
Safety: No Grade 4 (life-threatening or disabling) adverse events were reported.
Distribution update: Delivered to states in early March 2021.

AstraZeneca/Oxford

Vaccine type: Viral vector (simian adenovirus)
Trial began: August 31, 2020, in US trials.
Trial size: 30,000 volunteers in US trials.
Current phase: Phase 3
Estimated application for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA): Early 2021.
Doses expected: 3 billion doses available worldwide by the end of 2021.
Efficacy: AstraZeneca reported that the vaccine is 70-90% effective.
Safety: Data is still being collected from US trials, but data from trial participants in Britain and Brazil did not turn up any serious safety issues that were confirmed to be related to the vaccine.
Distribution update: To be delivered to Phase 1 as soon as Spring 2021.

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