Drug companies around the world are working to develop a vaccine for Covid-19. In mid-November, both Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna, report that — based on early data — they have vaccines that are about 90 percent and 94 percent effective against Covid-19, respectively.
Even with this news, Vox’s Umair Irfan reports, many key steps remain before a vaccine is rolled out. First, the trials must be completed, the vaccines must be proven safe, and they need to get approved. Once that happens, a global supply chain, from the glass vials that hold the vaccine to the syringes used to inject them, needs to spool up to make huge quantities of the vaccines.
Manufacturers will also have to ensure that vaccines remain intact and under strict temperature controls from the factory to the hospitals and clinics where they will be used. The process of manufacturing, distributing, and administering a vaccine could take months.
And vaccine research doesn’t end once a vaccine gets approved. Researchers and companies will still have to track complications across millions of people and pay attention to how quickly immunity wanes.
It’s also important to remember that a vaccine is not enough on its own to end the pandemic. Measures like social distancing, good hygiene, and wearing face masks will remain essential to control the spread of Covid-19 until a vaccine is widely available. Public acceptance will also be a major issue, and health officials will have to overcome a wave of vaccine hesitancy.