Coronavirus vaccine may be only 50% effective

Masks and social distancing will be with us for a while:

Scientists are hoping for a coronavirus vaccine that is at least 75% effective, but 50% or 60% effective would be acceptable, too, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a Q&A with the Brown University School of Public Health. “The chances of it being 98% effective is not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach.”

Dr. Stephen Hahn, the FDA’s commissioner, said last month that the vaccine or vaccines that end up getting authorized will prove to be more than 50% effective, but it’s possible the U.S. could end up with a vaccine that, on average, reduces a person’s risk of a Covid-19 infection by just 50%. “We really felt strongly that that had to be the floor,” Hahn said on July 30, adding that it’s “been batted around among medical groups.”

I know it's depressing as hell to see this on a Monday, but the sooner we get this through our heads the better. That 50% is about the same as influenza vaccines:

A 50% effective vaccine would be roughly on par with those for influenza, but below the effectiveness of one dose of a measles vaccination, which is about 93% effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Public health officials and scientists expect to know whether at least one of the numerous potential Covid-19 vaccines in development worldwide is safe and effective by the end of December or early next year, though there is never a guarantee. Drug companies Pfizer and Moderna both began late-stage trials for their potential vaccines last week and both expect to enroll about 30,000 participants.

Fauci has previously said he worries about the “durability” of a coronavirus vaccine, saying if Covid-19 acts like other coronaviruses, it may not provide long-term protection.

Not to flog a horse on a ventilator, but if Trump had shown a modicum of responsibility in the early stages, a 50% success rate might have been the silver bullet everybody has been hoping for. But the U.S. has had a million new cases in the last 17 days or so, and by the time a vaccine is ready to be deployed? I don't even want to think about it.

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