One COVID-19 vaccine in development may be ready for review in December.
Executives at Novavax say they are enrolling volunteers for a second phase of clinical trials now. The data should be ready for review within a few months.
Phase 1 data showed the two-dose vaccine in healthy adults produced antibodies in all participants. Tenderness and pain were the most frequent local symptoms.
When the first COVID-19 vaccines are approved, we won't know a whole lot about their safety.
“We’re going to learn as we go along. There are numerous case studies in our experience where, as vaccines were rolled out, we were quite confident with the safety profile, but that evolves,” said Dr. Jon Andrus, adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.
“I think that these vaccines will be safe in the sense that they won’t cause a serious or permanent adverse event when tested in 10,000, 15,000, 20,000people,” said Dr. Paul A. Offit with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Hopefully, that will also be true in post approval when it’s tested and seen in 20 million, 30 million people.”
Based on other vaccine history, a COVID-19 vaccine will likely produce some sort of adverse reaction. It could be minor typical injection site issues or something more serious.
Back in the 1950s, the very first massive polio vaccination program was stopped because it paralyzed some children and killed a handful.
In the 70s, the swine flu vaccine caused a very small amount of rare neurological cases. There are other issues like an allergic reaction or seizure.
Still though, experts say vaccines are one of the greatest advances in modern medicine in preventing unnecessary deaths.
“There is no better cost-effective intervention that medical science has to offer with the exception of safe water and sanitation, so when you look at our life expectancy, vaccines have been incredibly important,” said Andrus.
The Vaccine Injury Litigation Clinic handles cases of vaccine-related injuries and deaths. They have on average just over 600 people per year receive payouts from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. But they admit vaccine injuries are still rare compared to the overall numbers of administered vaccines every year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says for every 1 million doses of vaccines that were distributed, one person was compensated.