Paul Offit, MD is Director of the Vaccine Education Center, professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He joins the show to share his perspective on COVID-19 and discuss COVID-19 vaccine updates.
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“The fact that two-thirds of the population would get a theoretical, unknown vaccine for which they have no data against a virus which has been, at best, elusive…is pretty amazing…I think I would have answered ‘No’ to that question; I want to see the data first,” says Dr. Offit.
The COVID-19 vaccine development program is receiving unprecedented international interest, much of which is in the form of billions of dollars poured in by the WHO, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and about 80 other companies worldwide.
Dr. Offit expresses concern over the less extensive licensure process and safety issues that may be associated with the emergency-use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine. On this note, he discusses the importance of phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials involving a cohort of 30,000 people, 20,000 of which would receive the experimental vaccine and 10,000 of which would receive a placebo.
Dr. Offit also discusses the efforts behind Operation Warp Speed, COVID-19 vaccine progress, what it would mean to have a vaccine provide short-lived and incomplete protection, novel mechanisms of vaccine development such as those that rely upon messenger RNA, information about the potential of the COVID-19 virus to mutate away from potential vaccines, and much more.
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