Covid-19: The Vaccine Developed Too Fast? “The phases were respected,” assures an infectious disease specialist

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The speed with which the vaccination campaign against Covid-19 is launched can be surprising and sometimes even disturbing. Were vaccines developed too quickly before they hit the market? Reaction elements.

It is early January 2021 that the first vaccines against Covid-19 will be available. Nursing home residents and staff will be the first to be vaccinated on a voluntary basis in France, according to the recommendations of the High Authority for Health. So a vaccine can be administered less than a year after the arrival of the virus in Europe. A speed that can surprise you and sometimes even make you suspicious.

A vaccine developed quickly

So will this vaccine come onto the market too soon? “A lot of money has been mobilized by different laboratories, a lot of motivation but all the research has been done,” explains epidemiologist Martin Blachier. The different phases of a vaccine have been observed. “There are no objective reasons for concern.” Ten days ago, scientists nevertheless expressed their fear of seeing a vaccine on the market very quickly, such as Eric Caumes, the head of the infectious and tropical diseases department at La Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, or the epidemiologist Catherine Hill.

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No unknown side effects

The first two available vaccines, produced by the Pfizer / BioNtech and Moderna laboratories, have passed Phase 3, which is testing efficacy and tolerance in several thousand people. “Out of 70,000 people tested, there was no side effect, apart from the classic effects of a vaccine, redness around the injection site, a little fever, fatigue, also known as reactogenic reactions,” explains Dr. Blachier. possible side effect, so it would affect less than one in 70,000 people. ”And the epidemiologist reminds,“ In all the vaccines out there, we’ve never had a disease that appeared long after, more than six months after the injection”.

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A new type of vaccine

The vaccine used against Covid-19, of the RNA (ribonucleic acid) type, is completely new and this may cause concern. “The vaccine will consist of injecting RNA. It’s a small piece of material derived from the genetic code to make proteins. It’s viral genetic material.” Here too Martin Blachier wants to reassure: “It cannot penetrate our genetic heritage. It is a material that will be broken down very quickly in our body”. Two injections are required.

Recently, labs have multiplied the effects of announcements on the effectiveness of their next vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna propose an efficiency of 95%. “It’s unheard of for a vaccine,” says Martin Blachier. The efficacy rate of the AstraZenecca vaccine, which will be a conventional vaccine, is lower at around 70%. The French vaccine project, developed by Sanofi, is still in phase 2 of clinical trials.

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In the United States, the regulatory agency, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has scheduled to communicate Dec. 17. The European Medicines Agency (EMA), for its part, is due to meet on December 29 to decide whether or not to give the green light to the marketing of vaccines.

Which vaccination schedule?

Jean Castex and Olivier Véran will explain the vaccination campaign this Thursday evening during a press conference. The Haute Autorité de santé has recommended that elderly people staying in nursing homes be vaccinated “on arrival of the very first doses” of vaccine, estimated January 2021. Currently, 75,000 people are living in nursing homes in France. The staff of these sites will also be among the priority French.

Second, from April 2021, people over 75 years old, as well as 65-74 year olds with co-morbidities and professionals in the health, medical-social and medical transport sector 50-year olds with a risk factor will have access to the vaccine. The third phase is reserved for people over 50 with co-morbidity and for all care providers. In phase 4, vaccination will cover the most exposed professions and people in uncertainty. The last phase concerns all French over 18 years old.

The vaccine against Covid-19 will not be mandatory.

The French and the vaccine

59% of French do not plan to get vaccinated against Covid-19, according to an Ifop poll /JDD appeared last Sunday. A week earlier, six in ten French said they were ready to be vaccinated, according to a BVA survey for Europe 1, published November 23. “There are fears related to the preconditions for the design of the vaccine, and in particular the fact that the vaccine was developed in record time. Seven in ten say it was conceived too quickly,” explains. to our colleagues the director of BVA Adélaïde Zulfikarpasic. One of the interviewees’ biggest fears is that they may experience potential side effects. The youngest are the least inclined to get vaccinated, the over-65s are the most for it.

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