A COVID vaccine could be coming to Michiana soon

NOW: A COVID vaccine could be coming to Michiana soon

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- Health officials in St. Joseph County are preparing for the first round of COVID vaccines to be distributed by the end of the year. On Friday, Pfizer petitioned the FDA for an emergency use authorization of it's COVID vaccine.

"This has been a remarkable process, probably one of the most remarkable medical achievements of our century," said Dr. Jim Harris, Medical Director of the South Bend Clinic Center for Research. "Usually vaccines take five to ten years to develop and in this case in five to ten months we’ve come up with not just one but a number of vaccines."

The first people who will get the vaccine are health care workers, first responders, and front line workers who risk their lives battling the pandemic every day.

"I think there’ll be a vaccine available very soon in the next couple of months or maybe the next several weeks," said Harris. "I think people need to realize it’s going to be a very limited supply that’s going to go to healthcare workers and high risk populations."

The Pfizer vaccine is a two dose vaccine with a better than 90 percent efficacy rate.

"Pfizer gives a one month vaccine booster after the first vaccine is given. Some of the vaccines go out as long as six months to get that booster," said Harris. "Time will tell which one works the best."

Harris says the general population needs to continue following safety protocols until COVID immunization grows to a high level.

"I think everybody needs to remember that even with the vaccine out there we can’t let our guard down," said Harris. "We need to continue to follow the guidelines of masks, handwashing, and social distancing, and realize that we’re still fighting battles here that may take months and months to resolve."

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