San Antonio – A question many are asking-when will the COVID-19 vaccine be seen?
In a recent college health question-and-answer session with Dr. Jason Bowling, an infectious disease specialist disassembled the steps in vaccine development and shared his theory on why we think we will wear masks for a while.
Bowling also compared the similarities and differences between COVID-19 and 1918 influenza and discussed what the medical field has learned in the last century on how to deal with the disease.
See the whole Question-and-answer session With the video player above.
Below is a short excerpt of some of the questions raised in bowling and his answers. The full answer can be heard on the video.
How long does it usually take to make a vaccine from start to finish?
“Usually this is a very long process. The entire process from start to finish can take years. It can take up to 10 years, many times before adding to a clinical trial to producing a vaccine.”
What are the potential risks if the vaccine passes the test in a hurry?
“If you don’t go through a standard process, you may find something that looks effective and safe, but without a lot of people, you may not understand some of the problems that come with it-people experience. Some complications and side effects that can occur. “
When can we realistically expect the coronavirus vaccine to be widely used?
“I think the best forecast is probably the end of 2020, the December time frame, but probably the beginning of 2021.”
Would it really help if very few Americans are willing to take the vaccine when it first comes out?
“From a population perspective, a certain number of people are needed to get a vaccine to reach a particular herd immunity, which has been much discussed in the last few months.
To protect the immunity of the herd to some extent to protect those who cannot be vaccinated, some people, perhaps at least 50-60%, are needed. “
Is it true that even if the vaccine is successful, it is likely to wear a mask and keep a social / physical distance beyond that for some time?
“Even after obtaining the results of these phase 3 trials of the vaccine, it is necessary to maintain a physical distance from the mask to keep people safe.”
There were many comparisons between COVID-19 and the 1918 flu. What are the similarities and differences?
“There are similarities because it was also a pandemic. It affected the entire community of the world. There were many deaths. However, some important differences in the 1918 flu pandemic were treatment. They didn’t even know the virus that caused them until 15 years later. No vaccine was available.
There was a difference in how people approached the 1918 pandemic flu. Some communities had large gatherings and parades, while others were socially distant. And in a community with more large-scale events, more cases of influenza and more deaths, so I think we’ll see some of them in this COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. “
What is the lesson of influenza in 1918?
“We need to be consistent and not satisfied with the physical distance and masking. We need to take advantage of the vaccine when it becomes available.”
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