Lexington doctor discusses new COVID vaccine candidates

Coronavirus

Jill Johnson adminsters the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Sharee Livingston, an OB-GYN with UPMC Lititz. (Dan Gleiter/The Patriot-News via AP)

The world is going on the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, but as we look back we can see how far we’ve come with scientific achievement and knowledge. We have two vaccines on the market, with at least another two in the works.

“During crisis is when we make the greatest scientific advances,” says emergency physician Dr. Ryan Stanton.“You know even if it’s wartime, but pandemics and things like that are when we make huge jumps in terms of technology, and safety, and healthcare.”

Stanton explains we not only have the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines but two others potentially on the market soon. The first is by Johnson & Johnson. It’s a one-dose vaccine that’s being tested locally at the University of Kentucky and Baptist Health.

The other vaccine is by Novavax. According to the Novavax website, the vaccine combines genetic engineering to produce a new class of immunogenic particles that target viral pathogens.

“This technology that Novavax is working on is thought to be likely the future of vaccines,” Dr. Stanton says.

But how soon will you get access to a shot? The doctor says each county creates its own roll-out plan, so that depends on where you live.

“You’re going to have a bunch of different plans, some great, some good, some not so good,” Dr. Stanton says.

Stanton hopes everyone will have access to a vaccine by the middle of the year. He urges us to not be afraid to get the shot.

“These vaccines are exponentially safer than the virus that we’re trying to prevent, so as many people as possible need to get this so we can protect as many people as possible,” Dr. Stanton says.

The doctor says not to expect side effects much different from other vaccines we may be more accustomed to. These could include the usual soreness or mild viral symptoms.

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