KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Several COVID-19 vaccines are entering a trial phase, but it could be several months before any immunizations are widely available in the US.
Pfizer’s announcement that its vaccine is 90 percent effective is a glimmer of hope for local doctors working on the front lines of the pandemic. But today several physicians cautioned that the country still faces a dire situation for that time.
Doctors from the University of Kansas Health System and Children’s Mercy Hospital demonstrated a mobile vaccine unit on Thursday. They are using it to conduct trials of an AstraZeneca immunization in underserved communities.
“If we don't study the vaccine in these populations we won't know if they're effective when they roll out the vaccine to the public,” Dr. Barbara Pahud, one of the mobile unit’s supervising physicians, said.
Pahud also spoke on a panel of doctors at a virtual conference on vaccines Thursday afternoon. The panel covered several types of vaccines currently in development.
The first treatments, which are still at least two months from clearing FDA approval, to hit the market will likely go to healthcare workers.
After that, it could be several more months before companies are able to manufacture and effectively distribute doses.
“It's likely going to be spring of 2021 before we have any semblance of vaccine immunity,” said Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, another panelist. “We're in dire straits at this point.”
Until then, Jackson and Pahud urged Americans to continue to wear masks and practice strict social distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus.