Reynold Panettieri, Vice Chancellor for Translational Medicine and Science at Rutgers University, is available to discuss the next steps in a vaccine roll-out after Pfizer’s announcement that its coronavirus vaccine was 95 percent effective and had no serious side effects.
“By all accounts this is a safe vaccine, so it should go through FDA approval for emergency authorization smoothly. The good news is that some people may be vaccinated before year's end. Initially, the vaccine will be distributed to the health care workers who are manning the front lines, taking care of individuals who are ill, then to those with compromised health conditions,” Panettieri said. “The issue is less who is getting the vaccine, but how. The logistics of producing that number of doses and vaccinating millions of people is formidable. The Pfizer vaccine also has to be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit, which is five times colder than a kitchen freezer. Strategically located distribution centers would be necessary since retail pharmacies do not have these types of freezers.
“There are many other vaccines on the horizon,” he continued. “For example, Rutgers is a Covid-19 vaccine trial site for Moderna, which announced its vaccine — an mRNA platform similar to Pfizer’s vaccine and also requiring two doses — is 94.5 effective, but does not need that type of ultra-refrigeration, simplifying distribution. Additionally, Rutgers is also a site for a viral vector vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson.”