Dr. Susy Hota discusses next steps for COVID-19 vaccines

Promising news came out over the past couple weeks regarding the development of effective COVID-19 vaccines. Multiple drug companies announced that their COVID-19 vaccine proved to be highly effective in clinical trials (based on early data). While we all seemed to finally get a glimpse at the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, scientists are urging everyone to stay cautiously optimistic, as it’s still early days.  
UHN’s Dr. Susy Hota, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control, gave some insight into what we can expect from the future of a COVID-19 vaccine in a recent article in Chatelaine. Below are some of Dr. Hota’s quotes from the article. Read the full version on Chatelaine’s website

On when the vaccine could be available: 
“I think there are some very optimistic timelines being thrown out there in terms of when this vaccine will be available and ready to go,” Hota told Chatelaine. “Messenger RNA vaccines have an advantage in that you can develop and manufacture them relatively rapidly compared to a lot of other technologies that are used for vaccine development. Now the challenge will be to ramp up production and get the vaccine out on a mass scale” While a clear timeline still remains to be seen, this sounds promising. 

When discussing the risks and safety:  

Dr. Hota pointed out that we need to weigh out the risks of the vaccine vs. the risks of the continued spread of COVID-19. “It really is a balancing of what the risks are. And the pandemic itself is posing a huge safety risk to people and your risk, if you get COVID-19, is also quite tangible.” 

On the implications of a vaccine: 

“Just because a vaccine may be on the horizon, it doesn’t mean that we are going to be changing things too rapidly. I worry people will be thinking, ‘Oh, there’s going to be a vaccine soon. Why are we putting all these restrictions into place right now?’ It’s great to have some positive news, but I’m hoping that that doesn’t make people feel like—whatever, let’s go to that party this weekend.”  

Dr. Susy Hota emphasized to Chatelaine that it’s critical we remain cautious despite the good news.   

“I think we have to be prepared to continue with masking with some form of physical distancing for a while.”  

Read the whole article here.

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