Physician Perspectives on the Novel COVID-19 Vaccine
November 19, 2020
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported over 11 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States and almost 250,000 deaths since January 21, 2020. As we all know, over the past month rates of new COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to increase globally.
Researchers have been working to find a solution to end this pandemic, in the hopes of getting our lives back to normal — or whatever the new normal will be. Earlier this month, Pfizer announced results from a phase 3 study, stating that its coronavirus vaccine was 95% effective and had no serious side effects. On the heels of Pfizer’s announcement, Moderna also released phase 3 data of their vaccine which resulted in 94.5% efficacy. Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine require two doses three weeks and four weeks apart, respectively. Pfizer, in partnership with BioNTech, and Moderna plan on submitting emergency authorizations to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so that mass production of the vaccine can begin as soon as possible.
A majority of physician respondents (55%) indicated that they would be very likely to recommend a COVID-19 vaccine to patients and family
Both Pfizer and Moderna are developing these novel vaccines with new technology that use a synthetic version of coronavirus genetic material, messenger RNA or mRNA, to prompt the immune system to generate protective antibodies. The main differences between the two experimental vaccines are in relation to shipping, handling, and storage. Pfizer’s vaccine must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures of -94F or below while Moderna’s vaccine can remain stable at regular refrigeration temperatures of 36F-46F.
Opinions about vaccinations vary depending on individual rights perspectives and overall apprehensions. Studies have indicated that while some individuals may be in favor of vaccinations, lack of knowledge can be a barrier. Proper education and communication between patients and healthcare professionals is critical to provide evidence-based information and address any unsubstantiated reservations. Doctors and other healthcare providers play a significant role in supporting the public around decisions to either accept or decline healthcare services, including vaccinations.
Only 26% of respondents indicated that they felt entirely comfortable administering the novel mRNA vaccine.
We reached out to the QxMD physician community to assess perceptions around the COVID-19 vaccine. 1,590 physicians responded to the 3-question survey. A majority of respondents (55%) indicated that they would be very likely to recommend a COVID-19 vaccine to patients and family, however, physician comfort with administration of the vaccine varied. Only 26% of respondents indicated that they felt entirely comfortable administering the novel mRNA vaccine. This could be due to the fact that this type of vaccine has never been approved or used before, hence guidance in regards to administration is still limited.
The COVID-19 vaccine is anticipated to be approved and available by the end of this year. While results from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s early analysis appear promising, there remains work to do to support the physician community in gaining comfort with this novel vaccination strategy. Guidance around this novel vaccine is in development and forthcoming.
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