Many are hopeful that effective vaccines against COVID-19 will be widely available to the public in 2021. Pharmaceutical companies must test their vaccines in research participants before vaccines can be given to the public. The pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced that their vaccine has prevented COVID-19 in 95% of research participants. They plan to ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for permission to use the vaccine in the general public. This is good news. About 30% of U.S. volunteers in Pfizer’s trial were people of color. Of the 170 cases of COVID-19 in the Pfizer trial, 162 occurred in people who did not receive any treatment or vaccine. Only 8 people who got the vaccine contracted COVID-19. Of the 10 cases of severe COVID-19, 9 were in people who did not get the vaccine. This suggests that the vaccine prevents mild cases, as well as serious disease that leads patients to be hospitalized or die. Pfizer said that there were no serious safety concerns related to the vaccine. Recently, another company, Moderna, said that a similar vaccine also reduced COVID-19 infections by 94.5%. In the Moderna study, which is not yet complete, there were 11 cases of severe disease, all in people who did not get the vaccine. Like Pfizer, Moderna plans to ask the FDA for permission to use the vaccine in the general public once it has collected more safety data. That would allow its vaccine to be distributed to people at high risk for COVID-19.


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