Researchers Work to Develop COVID-19 Vaccine

October 23, 2020

 Researchers are in the midst of developing a COVID-19 vaccine that could resolve the pandemic once and for all.

Trials for the vaccine are in progress across the globe, and hundreds of pharmaceutical companies are racing to move their experimental injections through the approval process as quickly as possible.

In an interview with Healthline, the dean of the School of Public Health Thomas LaVeist voices his skepticism for the reliability of the COVID-19 vaccine as effectiveness conflicts with safety concerns.  

Typically, a vaccine will take more than a decade to be developed and deployed, so putting an artificial deadline on the production of a vaccine is extremely dangerous.”

— Thomas LaVeist

While addressing growing public concerns about the health risks of the injection, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, states that the public should put their trust in the scientists working to produce a vaccine.

“I feel cautiously optimistic, as a scientist, that we will have a safe and effective vaccine,” said Fauci in an article by TNR.

According to the Pew Research Center, there has been a significant decrease in Americans who plan to get the vaccine, despite the assuring statements from medical staff.

“Intent to get a COVID-19 vaccine has fallen from 72 percent in May, a 21 percentage point drop [to 51 percent],” Pew Research Center reported.

Americans, including students, are becoming far less confident in the vaccination testing and are extremely concerned with possible side effects especially following the AstraZeneca incident.

According to the New York Times, “The first participant [of the AstraZeneca vaccine trials] received one dose of the vaccine before developing inflammation of the spinal cord, known as transverse myelitis…”

However, AstraZeneca withheld the information for a considerable amount of time causing suspicions to arise from the public when the case of myelitis was discovered. 

Later on, a second case of transverse myelitis arose within another volunteer from the same trial.

AstraZeneca continued testing in Brazil where the death of a volunteer quickly followed and people began to lose trust in the safety of any vaccine.

AstraZeneca scientists move their COVID-19 vaccine through the third phase of safety trials. Photograph by Nick Moir via Getty Images.

 

Sophomore Alex Stine is opposed to students being required to vaccinate.

“[The injections] are being made quite quickly, so scientists can’t totally predict the effects they will have on people in the future,” said Stine. “What is the point in getting an injection for something you can’t even promise the proper outcome of?”

The COVID-19 vaccination is largely controversial among citizens, but the pandemic must, at some point, slow, and maybe then, normal life will resume.

University of Chicago infectious disease expert Emily Landon reassured the public that seemingly drastic measures such as social distancing and virtual schooling were worth it.

“…This isn’t going to be forever,” said Landon. “[COVID-19] will last longer than any of us want it to, but in the end, we will look back and see it as just a piece of what happened our whole lives, and we have to remember that.”

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