Pfizer vaccine raises Skepticism

Olivia Bachar

Pfizer expects to have the vaccine approved before the end of 2020. 
Photo: iStockphoto

After many months of testing and false tabloid news, it seems there may be a publicly available COVID-19 vaccine soon. 

Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech announced that stage three of their COVID-19 vaccine trial has shown success. The vaccine, when given in two doses on a 28-day schedule, showed a 90 percent efficiency rate from 92 individual cases (Pfizer). 

Pfizer and BioNTech also stated that they will be doing the final analysis stage of the trial once 164 individual cases have been reached. 

The pharmaceutical companies say “Based on current projections we expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021” (Pfizer). 

On paper, that sounds incredible to me. A vaccine that is proven to work, with such a high success rate, available soon? However, it also seems to be too good to be true. 

The popularized flu vaccine has only a 30-50 percent efficiency rate (CDC). Seemingly that seems to be too low, but 50 percent of people not getting the flu is better than 0 percent.

 I do get a flu shot every year and never get the flu, so I assume I am part of the 30-50 percent that it is effective on. I trust the flu vaccine. It has been researched and re-formulated for decades to be as safe and effective as possible. 

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has had only a fraction of time dedicated to it, a measly 10 months. 10 months, even with non-stop research and trials, seems too short of a time to me, especially since the production companies also claim the vaccine has no major side effects (Pfizer).

Pfizer is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. 
Photo: Getty Images

Maybe it’s because I got my hopes up so many times throughout this pandemic for positive news, but I remain doubtful of this one. 

Even if the vaccine is released, let us say the supposed 50 million by the end of 2020, I do not think I would get it right away. I would not want to be the “guinea pig”, the person everyone watches to see if they have symptoms or catch COVID-19. I would rather be a person watching the “guinea pig” if I am being honest. 

I would also want to know about the other factors, like how effective it is if the person does not wear a mask or follow social-distancing. Is it still as effective without those protocols?

I consider myself very pro-vaccine but I am hesitant with this vaccine.

With such little time and such great results, we all have a right to be hesitant. Though, we also all have a right to hope it is effective without side effects. 

We all want the pandemic to end sooner rather than later. Who knows, maybe the vaccine is as effective as they claim it is. I hope so. 

In the past, vaccines have been able to eradicate viruses in the United States, previous death sentences. Viruses like polio, tetanus and Hib, which I have never heard of. Hib can cause damage to the immune system, cause hearing loss, and death (CDC). Hib would mainly affect children under five, infection over 20,000 a year pre-vaccine. Post-vaccine, me, a nursing major, had never even heard of it. 

That is the kind of power and effectiveness that a COVID-19 vaccine needs to have. 

If and when it is scientifically proven that one has, then I will get a COVID-19 vaccine. For now, I play the waiting game, for both a vaccine and the subsequent end to the pandemic.