Oxford scientists hope their coronavirus vaccine is ready to be rolled out by the end of 2020

Reporter: Veronica Marshall Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Dr. Rhonda Flores looks at protein samples at Novavax labs in Rockville, Maryland on March 20, 2020, one of the labs developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, COVID-19. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

The coronavirus vaccine created by Oxford scientists may be the frontrunner for now but there are still many obstacles to go until it reaches the market.

And while this is good news for many, not everyone is excited for the release.

“I couldn’t get out of bed, my body ached,” Diaz said.

She has survived and recovered from COVID-19 since. But at the time, her body was hurting but so were her finances.

“Due to this, I was not able to go to work – even though the symptoms disappeared,” she said.

Despite all of that pain, Diaz said she still wouldn’t get a coronavirus vaccine. “I put that in prayer. I’m really not trusting it,” said Diaz.

Dr. Barry Bloom from Harvard says it’s a sentiment he’s heard before. Bloom says you can’t sacrifice science and testing for speed.

“I would hope the leadership of the FDA would stand firm on the scientific basis otherwise the trust in the whole scientific enterprise becomes compromised,” said Dr. Bloom, Research Professor of Public Health at Harvard.

Now, one of the vaccine frontrunners is saying it can stop clinical trials and get the vaccine into production and out on the market by the end of 2020.

Bloom says trials are meant to gauge the safety and effectiveness of drugs by involving thousands of people.

“In 30,000 people or 15,000 people, you would know that there were no significant or only a small number of significant adverse effects,” said Dr. Bloom.

This could signal the fastest creation ever, Bloom thinks we should honor the scientific process.

“I have a lot of faith that the FDA technical people, who sit through one government after another doing their job, are going to do their job,” he said.

Dr. William Hanage, another Harvard professor said, “The most important thing is that it’s a vaccine which actually does what we want it to do and that it doesn’t have damaging but rare side effects.”

But Diaz says that she’ll continue to rely on another kind of faith. “I’ll just keep praying like I’ve done so far,” she said.

Bloom adds that new vaccines are usually subject to phase four testing. This means, after their release, thousands of people who got the vaccine are studied to monitor long-term side effects.


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