On Monday, Pfizer announced that early analysis of the coronavirus vaccine it has been developing with BioNTech suggested the vaccine was a success. A promising development considering the pandemic has already killed roughly 1.3 million people.
Pfizer provided only sparse details from its clinical trial but said the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing the disease among volunteers who had no evidence of prior coronavirus infection. If the results hold up, that level of protection would put it on par with highly effective childhood vaccines for diseases such as measles. No serious safety concerns have been observed, the company said.
The good news prompted an avalanche of memes, celebrating the vaccine. Without wasting a second, Bored Panda selected some of the best ones to commemorate the occasion, so continue scrolling and enjoy.
Iris Gorfinkel, M.D., who is a general practitioner, medical researcher, and founder of PrimeHealth Clinical Research, said she is excited about the numbers. But she is also cautious. "We want to see the actual numbers, we want to see the real data on this. Right now, they have not reached the statistical significance needed for that vaccine," Gorfinkel told Bored Panda. "Also, they have not shared and been completely transparent so far with what the numbers are on side effects."
Another thing the doctor pointed out is that we still do not know how long the vaccine lasts. "That's a major issue with not just this product, but with all products, especially if it's being pushed through fast." Furthermore, what about the storage facility that the vaccine requires? Gorfinkel said almost no clinics have that. "We don't have the storage facilities to keep this vaccine at minus 70 degrees. It may work in a research setting. But I'm a vaccine researcher, and I don't even have that $15,000 refrigeration system."
Gorfinkel stressed that we need systems that are telling us at all times who has received what vaccination, when and where it was given, and with what product. "Right now we lack centralized tracking systems. And this leads to vaccine wastage and an inability to divert vaccine supplies to where they're most needed," she explained.
A simple solution to this problem is barcoding. "Walmart's a great example. It has literally millions of products and over 400 stores in Canada. So there's no reason why this same technology is not applied to vaccines. Every Canadian should have a unique barcode that could be scanned right along with a barcode which is already existing on every vial of vaccine that we give."
"Instantly, those two little blips would automatically populate the patient's own electronic health record, local public health unit records, and also a provincial or territorial vaccine registry ... That the last record, the vaccine registry, would allow patients a private portal to see what vaccine was provided and when, and could also serve as a platform in which patients could be emailed about specific issues with a vaccine. That includes recalls, newly discovered side effects, the potential reminders for boosters, and how long-lasting the vaccine is discovered to be."
Clinicians could also gain access to the vaccine registry to see who has had what product and when, Gorginkel said, and ministries of health could be empowered to divert potentially limited supplies of vaccines to outbreaks.
"It's not just one vaccine. Ultimately, we're talking about probably a whole group of vaccines, each with its own unique safety and efficacy profile, each with its own unique vaccine schedule of how it needs to be given how frequently it's going to get really complicated," the doctor added. "These complex issues will arise and we need to have that information at our fingertips."