Panel’s COVID-19 vaccine clock leaps ahead on Pfizer, Moderna news

Elizabeth Weise, and Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY

Expert panel pushes USA TODAY’s COVID-19 vaccine clock ahead on positive news, but logistical challenges loom in getting doses to Americans.
Although the COVID-19 outbreak is looking worse than ever, news from vaccine makers is fueling optimism – maybe even jubilation – among experts in the field.

Normally restrained and cautious, a panel of experts convened by USA TODAY could barely contain its enthusiasm over the latest effectiveness figures from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, whose vaccine candidates have been shown to be about 95% effective while not raising any serious safety concerns.

“It’s the best news so far this year,” said Florian Krammer, a virologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

The proof of effectiveness and safety also marks a shift from the development to distribution phase of the vaccine process.

Though both companies and others making vaccines depended on tens of thousands of Americans to volunteer for clinical trials, beginning as soon as next month millions of Americans will get to choose whether to get vaccinated.

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