When will the general public have access to a COVID-19 vaccine? One Duke doctor says it could happen by next summer

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Public could get access to COVID-19 vaccine by summer, NC doctor says
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After an initial roll-out to high-risk people and healthcare workers, Dr. Naggie believes the general public could have access to a COVID-19 vaccine by May or June.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- An infectious diseases doctor at Duke University Hospital is thrilled with some of the results coming in about a COVID-19 vaccine.

Both Pfizer and Moderna have reported that they should have enough efficacy and safety data to apply for an Emergency Use Authorization by the end of November.

"The flu vaccine efficacy is very dependent on what the strains are circulating at any given time so to hit a 90% in a flu vaccine would be a banner year," said Dr. Susanna Naggie, an associate professor of medicine and vice dean for clinical research at Duke University's School of Medicine.

Some have shown to have a 95% efficacy which, according to Dr. Naggie, is much more than was expected.

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Dr. Naggie said the one vaccine that's that effective is the one for Hepatitis B.

"It also means that we're likely to have the early roll out of the vaccine by the end of the year and that's important," Naggie said.

The FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee will have a public hearing and within two to four weeks, the FDA may grant emergency authorization for Pfizer, Moderna or both by the end of December.

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The initial roll out will only be for high-risk individuals: front-line healthcare workers, first responders and those in long-term care facilities.

Dr. Naggie believes the general public could have access to it by May or June of next year.

"That is not a bad place for us to be in at this given time," Naggie said.

Dr. Naggie said she expects the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine to be similar to that of the shingles vaccine.


People will react differently to them but "that's actually your body's response and it's a health response."

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Moving forward, Dr. Naggie believes it will be about education.

She said she's been giving and encouraging her patients to get the flu shot for years.

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"I think also because people hear they are new and novel and that has also led some folks to wonder about the long-term safety," she said. "I hope that we see many of our leaders standing up and supporting vaccination: that for us as a country to restart, get our businesses back, it's going to be critical to have vaccination acceptance across the board."