Interview: Breaking down the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Pfizer revealed tests proved that its COVID-19 vaccine was 95% effective against this deadly disease, and Moderna announced that its potential vaccine is 94.5% effective.

Still, both candidates are waiting for emergency-use authorization, and even when that happens, health care workers and first responders will be the first to be vaccinated, then the most vulnerable in our society. The general population probably won’t be able to get a dose until next spring.

For the Pfizer vaccine candidate, it must be kept cold — nearly -100 degrees Fahrenheit — to remain effective. 

But with Walgreens and even community clinics being talked about as distribution sites, the infrastructure does not yet exist out there to keep meaningful amounts of the drug on hand when it is available, warned Dr. Dan Field, chief medical officer at MDstaffers.

“I remember just reading the head of the Mayo Clinic was saying that they don’t even have the type of refrigeration there that could keep this vaccine viable,” Field told FOX40.

“However, Pfizer is working on a distribution system where they’re producing their own insulated boxes that will keep these vaccines at the proper temperatures … and that may overcome the distribution issue,” he continued.

With the Pfizer vaccine, a patient needs to have two doses a month apart. If they don’t get back to the doctor a second time, it might not be so bad.

“You would get upwards of 93% protection, which is actually much, much better than the flu vaccine … but you can jump to 95%-plus if you did get the second vaccine,” Field explained.

And even though neither of the vaccines’ trial results has been peer-reviewed, Field is not worried.

“No, it doesn’t bother me at all,” Field said. “Remember, ‘peer-review’ refers to publishing a research paper, and we have scientists who are actually looking into the data right now, and they’re not actually aligned with the companies.”

As for electronic, universal medical records — such as Ticketmaster’s suggestion of tying a concertgoer’s entry to whether they have been vaccinated or not — Field said he “likes that a lot.”

“I believe in the far East countries they have used telephone proximity … we can tell when a phone has been in proximity with a phone of someone who has been affected,” he said. “Perhaps they can put vaccination data tied to that as well.”

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