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Life could return to ‘normal’ by next winter, vaccine creator says

A scientist behind the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine said life might not be normal again until winter 2021.

People wear face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus as they arrive at the KCM Cinemas theater in Bekasi, West Java, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.
People wear face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus as they arrive at the KCM Cinemas theater in Bekasi, West Java, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.
Achmad Ibrahim, Associated Press

BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said Sunday night that the world might not return to normal until the end of winter 2021 — despite good news about a COVID-19 vaccine.

What’s going on?

Sahin said Sunday that high vaccination rates will be needed if people want to return to normal by the end of 2021, according to BBC News.

  • “I’m confident that this will happen, because a number of vaccine companies have been asked to increase the supply, and so that we could have a normal winter next year,” Sahin said.

Sahin said the plan is for millions of doses to be distributed across the world by the spring to help bring COVID-19 cases down. But it won’t be until summer when cases drop.

  • “The bigger impact will (not) happen until summer. The summer will help us anyway because the infection rate will go down,” he said.
  • “What is absolutely essential is that we get a high vaccination rate until or before autumn (or) winter next year.”

Flashback:

In early November, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the United States could return to “some semblance of normality” by 2021 or 2022, assuming the COVID-19 vaccine works out well, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.

  • “I think it will be easily by the end of 2021 — and perhaps even into the next year — before we start having some semblance of normality,” he said, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Fauci said wearing masks may be common even after the vaccine is distributed, too, which means they may be a part of this new normal.

Today’s news:

‘Moderna said Monday morning that preliminary phase three trial data show the company’s COVID-19 vaccine is more than 94% effective in preventing the virus.

To find the information, the analysis reviewed 95 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among 30,000 participants.

  • 90 cases of COVID-19 were observed in the placebo group.
  • 5 cases were observed in those who received a two-dose vaccine.
  • This resulted in a 94.5% effective rate.

Key quote:

  • “This is a pivotal moment in the development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate,” Bancel said in a statement. “Since early January, we have chased this virus with the intent to protect as many people around the world as possible. All along, we have known that each day matters. This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent COVID-19 disease, including severe disease.”

What happened next:

Per CNBC, shares of Moderna jumped 12% in premarket trading because of the news.

The vaccine would likely not be widely available until the spring, according to The New York Times.

Flashback:

Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech said their coronavirus vaccine is more than 90% effective in stopping COVID-19 in those who had not been infected beforehand, as I wrote about for the Deseret News. The companies said the developed a vaccine represents “a great day for science and humanity.” The vaccine is reportedly set to drop in December.

What’s next?

Now, the question becomes — do you get Pfizer vaccine (less effective, but sooner) or wait for Moderna (comes in the spring, potentially more effective). A lot of questions for Americans and people worldwide to consider about the vaccine.