A Principal Investigator for SUNY Update Medical University involved with the Phase 3 clinical trial testing BNT162b2, the mRNA-based vaccine developed by Germany’s BioNTech and then embraced by Pfizer in a co-development and commercialization deal had some sobering words about the impact of the forthcoming vaccine, should it be approved even if under the emergency use authorization. Dr. Stephen Thomas and team enrolled and treated 300 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 85 as part of the pivotal clinical trial. One of 150 trial site organizations worldwide, Dr. Thomas’ team was mindful of the importance of recruiting Hispanic and Black people given the disproportionate burden those populations face as part of the pandemic. But Dr. Thomas informs local news recently that the vaccine isn’t a panacea. Rather, various protective measures are a must even when Americans are receiving the vaccine, should it become authorized. From social distancing to wearing masks in crowded places to the possibility of targeted shutdowns, Americans have a way to go before the full daylight from the other end of the tunnel is bright and shiny.
Recently, WNYT 13 ABC emphasized this realism as the doctor only prepares New York State residents for the inevitable. There are no magic bullets that can simply remove the worst of the impacts of this pandemic.
In a way, this Thanksgiving represents a day of survival practice. Dr. Thomas reports to the local media that people must make good decisions and behave in such a way that they know is right and correct; large family gatherings for examples, represents unacceptable risk. Unfortunately, lots of people don’t seem to care.
Stephen Thomas, MD, Professor of Medicine, Chief, Infectious Disease Clinic.
Call to Action: Even when the vaccine is available and you or a loved one has received an inoculation, still follow state and federal guidelines. The pandemic won’t be over just because a vaccine is developed.