Anticipation is building for the first coronavirus vaccines to become available to Americans. Four drugmakers are currently conducting late-stage clinical studies for experimental COVID-19 vaccines, with a fifth company planning to begin late-stage testing of its vaccine candidate by the end of November.
The arrival of one or more safe and effective vaccines will definitely be a major milestone in the battle to control the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these vaccines won’t be everything that everyone wants them to be. Here are three things about the coronavirus vaccines that could be on the way that you almost certainly won’t like.
1. They won’t be 100% effective
Let’s assume that Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) report great results and win FDA emergency use authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2 before the end of this year. Suppose that Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) also secures EUA for its vaccine, mRNA-1273. At some point over the following months in this hypothetical scenario, you would be able to receive one of these vaccines (or one of the other leading candidates that might make it to market).
After you’re vaccinated, you won’t have to worry about getting COVID-19, right? Think again. It’s a virtual certainty that none of the vaccines will be 100% effective. Unfortunately, there’s a decent chance that you could receive a coronavirus vaccine yet still be diagnosed with COVID-19.
The FDA’s threshold for efficacy is actually pretty low — only 50%.Sure, we all hope that the coronavirus vaccines that become available to Americans are a whole lot more effective than flipping a coin. However, there’s no guarantee that will be the case.
2. You might have to take two doses
No one likes to get a vaccine shot. It’s a hassle to go to your healthcare provider to be vaccinated. Having a needle stuck in your arm isn’t fun. You also face the possibility of side effects, some of which can make you feel especially crummy.
Now take all of those negatives and double them. There’s a very good chance that you’ll have to receive two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, one dose several weeks after the first dose.
Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine requires two doses. So does Moderna’s vaccine. Ditto for the COVID-19 vaccines being developed by AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) and Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX). Of the leaders in the coronavirus vaccine race, only Johnson & Johnson‘s (NYSE:JNJ) JNJ-78436735 is a one-and-done option.
J&J is lagging behind Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, though. Why? Because it started late-stage testing after the others and had to temporarily pause its study due to a potential safety issue (one that didn’t turn out to be a problem after further investigation). If these companies’ coronavirus vaccines win EUA, you could end up receiving one of them before J&J’s vaccine is available.
3. They’ll likely be the new normal
Some Americans might envision a not-too-distant future where COVID-19 is a thing of the past. No vaccines, no masks, no problems. The masks probably won’t be necessary down