SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; coronavirus infection; viral vaccines/adverse effects; COVID-19 vaccines; vaccines; vaccines/supply and distribution; mutation; pandemic; patient safety


Other Public Health | Pharmaceutics and Drug Design | Virus Diseases


Over a year has passed since the discovery of SARS-CoV-2 and the subsequent COVID-19 pandemic. As mitigation efforts continue, COVID-19 has claimed over half a million lives in the United States and 3.1 million lives globally. The development and availability of vaccines delivering immunity to prevent COVID-19 offers hope to end the pandemic.

Emergency use authorizations from the Food and Drug Administration have been issued in the United States for three vaccines, one each from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen/J&J. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are both mRNA vaccines with efficacy of 95% and 94.1% respectively, while the vector-based vaccine from Janssen/J&J has an overall efficacy of 66.1%. The Janssen/J&J vaccine, having received the most recent authorization, is an attractive option due to high efficacy with a single dose.

With a high immunity rate of 70–80% needed to prevent the continued spread of the virus and mutations, the majority of the population will require vaccination. The rise of mutations from selective pressure has further increased the urgency. Recent discoveries of variants have led to uncertainties regarding the impact of immunity and effectiveness of vaccines. In order to end the global pandemic, it is essential that the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization monitor the variant potential and educate the public appropriately to encourage appropriate vaccination and allocation of product.

Achieving high vaccination rates in the U.S. has been challenged by supply, storage requirements and public hesitancy. In a recent Gallup poll, a random sample of 4,098 adults demonstrated that 71% of survey respondents were willing to receive a vaccine, which remains on the lower end of the 70–80% vaccination range required to end this pandemic. Despite these challenges, the United States has managed to surpass 225 million vaccinations.