As the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine rolls out in Britain, Canada, and the US, and the Moderna vaccine is also expected to be granted emergency authorization this week by the US Food and Drug Administration—the debate over who should get the vaccine first becomes suddenly pressing.
The New York Times reports, “With the coronavirus pandemic surging and initial vaccine supplies limited, the United States faces a hard choice: Should the country’s immunization program focus in the early months on the elderly and people with serious medical conditions, who are dying of the virus at the highest rates, or on essential workers, an expansive category encompassing Americans who have borne the greatest risk of infection?”
In a poll of 800+ global Sermo physicians, 42% said the elderly and sick should get the vaccine first—because the unequivocal priority needs to be reducing deaths; while 58% said essential workers should get it first—because we need to first reduce the risk of infection, in order to end the pandemic. And 71% agree that the issue of ethics needs to be considered here: many who have been disproportionately affected by Covid are minority, low-income and low-education essential workers who should be prioritized for the vaccine.
In regards to news that the review process revealed evidence that the Pfizer vaccine—which is given in two doses, three weeks apart—began to protect people after the first dose, 68% of physicians said they feel extremely optimistic that the vaccine will help us get back to normal sooner rather than later. However, 26% remain dubious of the findings, and do not think this is the panacea that some are making it out to be. Eighty-three percent said they are amazed at the speed in which a Covid-19 vaccine has been developed, tested, authorized, and now administered to the public.
Here’s more of what Sermo physicians have to say on this urgent topic:
It is too early to make predictions about the effectiveness of the vaccine in large masses, hopefully… in a few months we will really know. The tests have been successful and promising…General Practice
I do have some concerns about long-term safety of the vaccine, and wish the studies had included more vulnerable populations, but also believe it is our best bet to end all this suffering and unnecessary death sooner than later.Family Medicine / Practice (FP)
I want to see the data published in scientific journals… I’m not interested in press releases, nor the opinions of journalists, VIPs and stars.Orthopedic Surgery
In my opinion, proposal of the WHO is most human and rational. The older and sicker people should receive the vaccine first. All over the world and very important: FOR FREE!General Practice (GP)
I am a little wary of the results and would reserve my opinion till another 6 months.Pediatrics (excluding surgery)
In a pandemic with an average death of 10,000 people a day, is there time to wait for the long-term results of vaccines?Obstetrics & Gynecology