SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Operation Warp Speed has proved to be just that. The federal government launched the plan in May to deliver a vaccine faster than any in U.S. history.
It now appears that could happen soon, involving two separate vaccines that may go out before the end of the year.
The biotech company Moderna announced Monday morning that it will apply to the FDA for emergency use of its new vaccine. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, along with BioNTech, made a similar announcement about their vaccine last week.
While there is a lot of support for this latest vaccine, there also are concerns about how fast it came about.
Moderna claims its experimental vaccine is nearly 95% effective.
Word of the latest development spread like wildfire locally and created some mixed reactions.
Dr. Joseph Bocchini, infectious disease specialist for Willis-Knighton Health System, is involved in clinical trials of a different COVID-19 vaccine. He said he’s very encouraged Moderna’s announcement.
“This is exciting news because now we have two vaccine candidates that have reached a point in their Phase III clinical trials that they have proven a significant amount of effectiveness.”
Not everyone is convinced that this fast track is guaranteed to be safe.
“The Moderna vaccine is an experimental vaccine,” noted Jill Hines, co-director of Health Freedom Louisiana, an advocacy group for civil and human rights related to vaccines.
She said her three children have endured various vaccine injuries, from her oldest child’s intractable ear infections to her eldest daughter’s heavy metal exposure. That exposure led to all sorts of complications. followed by the youngest daughter, who suffered from severe jaundice.
So Hines said she felt compelled to say something after Moderna’s big announcement Monday.
“The mRNA, the technology that they’re using, has never been used before. (And) Moderna has never developed a vaccine before.”
Micha Duffy, whom we came across shortly after he was tested for COVID-19, said the disease is serious enough that action is necessary.
“I think if it’s out there and it’s tested, you gotta believe in the science, you know. Say your prayers and believe in science; and that’s a good combination that never hurt anybody.”
Members of the general public may not have access to one of those new, free vaccines until late spring or even summer, experts say.
And they also caution that the introduction of vaccinations, even on a large scale, will not end the need for face masks right away.
And this will likely not be the final vaccine we’ll hear about.
There are several others in clinical trials. Experts say that’s critical because it will take many of them for use around the world.