After a few months of the COVID vaccine being around and millions of people getting vaccinating, there are still a few concerns regarding the COVID vaccine. One of the main concerns is that the COVID vaccine was developed too fast. Being that the fastest vaccine developed was the mumps vaccine which took a whole 4 years to develop, it is normal to have some questions about the speed of the COVID vaccine development.
But, the question arises, why was the COVID vaccine not developed too fast?
If we look back in history, there are hundreds of coronaviruses that caused a number of different diseases. In 2002, coronavirus caused the SARS epidemic, whereas in 2012 another coronavirus caused the outbreak of MERS. SARS-CoV is also a part of the same coronavirus family. Scientists have been studying coronaviruses for over half a decade, so before the outbreak of COVID, a lot of information was already known on the structure of this virus, the life cycle of it and the virulence of it.
Funding the vaccine plays a big role in the delay process of it. The development of a vaccine and the finding of clinical trials may cost over to 68 million dollars! Because of how fast coronavirus spread and how virulent the virus was, the government started funding companies working on developing a vaccine against COVID-19. Not only was the research for these companies funded, but the manufacturing and distributing of this vaccine was greatly funded by the government. Scientists worldwide worked together in collecting and sharing data, and different companies and governments worldwide, such as the European Commission or the UK government Vaccine Taskforce all contributed to the vaccine research.
Another question that arises when it comes to the speed of the COVID vaccine development is how were scientists able to develop a new technology used in vaccines so quickly, in this case the mRNA technology, which is now being used in the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine. mRNA technology was used in the past in clinical trials for cancer vaccines, Zika virus, influenza etc. The clinical trials showed promising results, therefore scientists had sufficient background on the mRNA technology before starting the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The only step that was rushed when developing, manufacturing and distributing the vaccine was the documentation process. FDA carefully examined each phase clinical trial before they approved of the vaccine without rushing the process. The clinical trials may be combined, but this does not give one phase less time than the others. Once all the clinical trials were approved and showed the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, emergency authorization was granted. Participants of the clinical trial will be followed up for two years to continue to study the safety of the vaccine.
The science of this vaccine was not rushed. The COVID vaccine has shown success in reducing the number of COVID cases and protecting people from getting the disease. The only way to decrease the spread of the disease is by creating herd immunity. It is important for everyone to keep up with their vaccine doses and for everyone to believe in the efficacy of this vaccine. By doing so, we will all be a step closer to getting our pre-COVID lives back!