The Vaccine Rollout Continues, and Pfizer Offers a Ray of Hope
A roundup of the most important Covid-19 vaccine news this week
There are now 20 vaccines in phase 3 trials, eight approved for limited use, and two approved for full use in some countries after fully completing phase 3 trials: the vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Sinopharm. (Those from Moderna and Oxford/AstraZeneca are being used with emergency use approval in some countries.)
Right now, there are two big questions when it comes to Covid-19 vaccination. Who is getting vaccinated next, and do the vaccines protect against emerging variants of the virus? As ever, new vaccines are in the works, offering hope that widespread access to vaccination could soon become available to more people around the world.
The U.S. government tells states to vaccinate people 65 and older
Vaccine rollout in the U.S. remains slow and confusing for many people. Meanwhile, new cases and deaths are soaring. To speed up vaccination, the Trump administration on Tuesday ordered all states to start vaccinating people 65 and older. Many have embraced this as a welcome change as the previous allocation guidelines, which were more restrictive, led many vaccine doses to go to waste. Still, the final decision to vaccinate older adults is being left to state governments, resulting in a patchworked expansion of the vaccination rollout across the country that has left many people feeling confused. The Washington Post also reports that although HHS said it would be releasing Covid-19 vaccine doses held in reserve for second shots, no reserve of vaccines actually existed.
Pfizer says its vaccine works against the new variant
As worrying new variants of the coronavirus spread, many have raised concerns that the available vaccines will not confer protection against them. A welcome bit of good news comes from Pfizer, who on January 8 said that their vaccine protects against a key mutation found in the variant known as B.1.1.7, or the U.K. variant. The research behind the claim is preliminary and hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed, but it shows that the Pfizer/BioNTech…