By Dorit Rubinstein Reiss
In the past weeks, three companies in advanced stages of COVID-19 vaccine trials reported good news. Moderna and Pfizer reported, respectively, 94.5% and 95% effectiveness of their mRNA vaccines in preventing symptomatic disease and similarly high effectiveness in preventing severe disease.
This was shortly followed by news that the AstraZeneca vaccine had over 70% effectiveness, and 90% with a different dosage regime.
The companies have also reported a favorable safety profile, with no serious harms attributed to the vaccine, though the vaccines do cause a high rate of temporary and unpleasant side effects, including local reactions and temporary flu-like symptoms.
Pfizer has already applied for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA, and I would expect Moderna and AstraZeneca to follow suit.
What does this mean? First, a note of caution. These are reports from the companies; the FDA has not yet finished examining the data. Examination may raise questions. The data submitted has to pass dual review.