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Overview this week

In the peak of the global COVID-19 pandemic drug companies have ramped up their vaccine trials and multiple companies have released promising phase 3 vaccine trial data. It is expected that a vaccine may be released by the end of December/early January. 

Top 3 News Highlights This Week

  1. The drug maker Pfizer announced that their COVID-19 vaccine is 95% effective and has no serious side effects. The vaccine trial which has been in stage 3, administered the vaccine to half of the 44,000 volunteers within the trail and administered a placebo to the other half (salt water). After administering either the vaccine or placebo they waited to see if individuals were infected with COVID-19 and how it developed, this resulted in their latest update of 95% effectiveness.
  2. Pfizer says it's prepared to distribute its COVID-19 vaccine within hours of being approved. As the company releases data showing the vaccine to be 95% effective, they prepare for quick shipment of the vaccine. Distribution plans have said that high risk individuals such as healthcare workers, essential workers, and immunocompromised individuals will be the first to receive the vaccine.
  3. The coronavirus vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca has released their vaccine phase 2 preliminary results. The trial which included 560 adults, including 240 over the age of 70, found the vaccine to be safe and produced a similar immune response among people over the age of 56 as seen in those aged 18 to 55. The results are promising, but until phase 3 research is conducted the vaccine cannot be distributed for emergency use.