New Vaccines Give the World Hope as COVID-19 Continues to Worsen


Matt Blomgren, Staff Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense changes in all our lives. We added social distancing, masking and Zoom to our daily routines as the government ordered that our businesses and schools be shut temporarily due to concerns about the novel virus. However, two new vaccines with high efficacy rates are being announced as the private-public partnership between top pharmaceutical companies and the federal government race to end the pandemic as quickly and safely as possible.

On November 9, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals announced its vaccine candidate, which is about 90% effective in fighting COVID-19. (You can read Pfizer’s press release here.) This watershed moment in the pandemic comes about as a part of the Trump Administration’s strenuous efforts to find a vaccine. Pfizer stock (NYSE: PFE) opened at $41.42 a share on November 9, and the Dow Jones jumped almost 1,000 points on the news. The mission, which is called ‘Operation Warp Speed,’ has promoted the search for a vaccine for the Coronavirus. President Donald Trump, who has not been very active since starting a legal fight for a second term, spoke on Friday about the new hope, which the vaccine represents. (You can watch the address here.) The President has been criticized for his actions during a pandemic; however, in conjunction with Vice President Mike Pence’s Coronavirus Task Force, the administration has tried to get supplies like ventilators and hospital beds out to cities in crisis, such as New York City to which the USS Comfort was dispatched in April. This news is the most optimistic of the results from the government’s response to the virus. As many European countries return to lockdown strategies, such as Great Britain and France, the United States is not enforcing a national lockdown despite the rising caseload. However, state and local governments are attempting to slow the spread of the virus with mask mandates, harsher business restrictions and mandatory quarantining from different countries and states. 

On November 16, another vaccine came about from ‘Operation Warp Speed.’ This vaccine is from Moderna, whose stock (NASDAQ: MRNA) jumped 10% higher at the opening bell. In addition, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 500 points at the opening bell due to this news. Moderna’s vaccine bested Pfizer’s with a 94.5% efficacy rate, which is higher than the 90% rate Pfizer reported. (You can read Moderna’s press release here.) The news of this vaccine is promising for a near-end to the pandemic.

We have endured a lot as a community and as a nation this year, and Moderna and Pfizer show promise of a return to normal in early 2021. The companies, in conjunction with the federal and state governments, hope to distribute the vaccine to frontline workers in hospitals across the nation before the end of the year. There are still many hurdles over which we must jump before returning to life as we knew it; however, there is hope that the pandemic will subside as the vaccine is distributed across the nation and the globe.