How wellness comms should react to the early vaccine data (Updated Nov. 23rd)

Nationwide availability of a COVID-19 vaccine is still months away, experts warn. Here are the messages you should be sending to employees right now.

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There’s been exceedingly good news on the vaccine front in recent weeks. AstraZeneca has become the third company to announce a viable vaccine with its candidate preventing COVID-19 infection in 70% of patients on average. Across two different dosing trials, the vaccine was effective in an average of two-thirds of recipients and could be as high as 90% effective with the right dose regimen, the company reports.

The announcement comes after Pfizer and BioNTech announced their vaccine was over 90% effective in its trials and Moderna reported its vaccine was 94% effective. All three vaccines have scored well above the threshold of 50% effective that the government set for a viable vaccine earlier this year and compares well with vaccines like the flu shot. NPR reported of Pfizer’s success:

“This result is towards the high end of expectations,” said an emailed comment from Shane Crotty, professor at the Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research, La Jolla Institute for Immunology. “Greater than 90% efficacy at preventing disease, with 94 COVID-19 cases to evaluate, is an excellent outcome! It would be good to see more of the data, but those are very convincing numbers.”

It’s a good sign, according to medical experts, but the process isn’t yet over.

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