All Eyes Are On A Possible COVID-19 Vaccination

By Emma Smith

smithe11@findlay.edu

@Emma2000Smith 

Vaccinations have to go through rigorous testing and trials before they can be given to the public. The two leading COVID-19 vaccinations are no different. Moderna and Pfizer are two companies among many that have scientists working on vaccinations and these two companies are the closest to being completed with their trials to according to University of Findlay Assistant Professor of Teaching Pharmacy Practice, Logan Conley. These two vaccine candidates have already gone through two phases of trails and are working through the third and last trial needed in order to be approved for the public.

Conley says phase one of the trials usually involve the drug being given to a small population of healthy patients. The point of phase one is to see if the vaccination is safe, check the dosage of the drug as well as take measurements from the patient’s blood to see if the drug has the potential to even work.

Phase two includes a larger population of patients, some of which are sick with the disease or illness that the drug is supposed to help. This phase looks at the effectiveness this drug has on the disease as well as try out the needed doses.

Phase three is the most expensive, longest phase and the phase that effects the largest population. Conley says that it is normally given to 1,000 or more people. These people are randomized and either get a placebo of the drug or the real drug and none of the participants are informed whether they received the placebo or vaccination. This last phase can look at the long term effects of said vaccine.

“A lot of these are randomized control trials, a drug versus a placebo and seeing if this drug shows an effect against a placebo at first but can also be compared to a different treatment,” Conley said.

Clinicaltrial.gov, a resource that anyone wanting to know the ins and outs of COVID-19 vaccination trials should check out, gives an estimated completion of the vaccination trials. According to clinicaltrails.gov, vaccination Moderna 1273 is estimated to be wrapped up on Oct. 27, 2022. The Pfizer vaccine is estimated to be completed Nov. 26, 2021. These estimation dates are years in the future, compared to some reports that a vaccination will be ready for states to give out in the beginning of November 2020.

Conley said that as of right now the trials are not showing negative symptoms aside from the normal symptoms that can occur when someone receives the flu shot; pain in the area the shot was given, slight rash on injection sight, small fever, etc. The biggest worry would be the long terms effects on someone’s body that these vaccinations could have. Due to the increased speed of these trials and the fact that no COVID-19 vaccinations have completed phase three trials, the long-term effects are unknown.

Conley thinks it is unlikely that the Food and Drug Administration will approve a vaccine without all three phrase data.

“One of the things that I think about because it is very relevant in other medicines is the long-term effects [of the vaccine] which we have no idea about at this time,” said Conley.

Conley also said that he encourages people to receive the COVID-19 vaccination once it is made available. He, like many others, is ready to see the world fully recover from this pandemic and believes that this vaccine is the answer to that.

“I have total faith that Big Pharma is looking out for the people. I personally and professionally cannot see them [the vaccine] being unsafe,” said Conley.

Conley hopes people can get past the hesitancy of a COVID-19 vaccine.

”I have always gotten a flu shot and the past two years I still got the flu,” Conley said. “I most likely contracted it from someone who did not receive the shot. Can you imagine how many people would not get the flu every year if everyone got their flu shot?”

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