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A COVID-19 Vaccine Doesn’t Exist Yet. When Will We Get One?

A researcher works on a vaccine against the new coronavirus COVID-19 at the Copenhagen's University research lab in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A researcher works on a vaccine against the new coronavirus COVID-19 at the Copenhagen's University research lab in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The world’s top scientists have been racing to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 in the months since it emerged. In that time, over 600,000 people have died worldwide, with nearly a quarter of them from the United States.

However, reports of positive results have come back in three key laboratories that could provide promising vaccine candidates. Now, two pharmaceutical companies have announced a nearly $2 billion contract with the U.S. that could see the first 100 million doses produced by December.

Although there have been some small human trials with noticeable effects like fever and headaches, the next step is to begin larger population tests, including here in the U.S. While it could be months before the vaccine is ready, the world is feverish to accelerate the hurdles it take to develop a safe and effective vaccine. If the push is successful, it would be historically quick.

But when it comes to medical testing and trials, particularly with vaccines, there’s new data that shows skepticism to a COVID-19 vaccine. According to a YahooNews/YouGov survey of 1,500 U.S. adults in July, a quarter of respondents said they would not get vaccinated. Meantime, less than half – 46 percent – said they would get vaccinated while 28 percent of respondents said they were unsure.

Meanwhile, a new group of vaccine skeptics have emerged out mistrust of the rapid timeline along with the President Trump’s own promises of a miracle vaccine. And the debate over the ethics of human trials and vaccine distribution could hinder efforts to encourage people to trust the medicine. Just weeks earlier in South Africa, demonstrators burned face masks and questioned whether the Oxford vaccine trials would be used on poor and vulnerable people.

Clinical trials are underway in several countries around the world. But we’re still months away from having a vaccine available to us.

Are you ready for the coronavirus vaccine? Would you be first in line for it or are you skeptical? Talk to us.

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.