Local doctors encouraged by Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, still concerned

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Local medical experts call the promise of a vaccine so quickly the most exciting development since the beginning of the pandemic.

Medical experts call the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, with a 90% effectiveness in preventing the virus, a game changer in the war against COVID-19.

“There are going to be a lot of patients and healthcare providers who are going to be successfully receiving this vaccine,” said St. Luke’s Health System Pulmonary and Critical Care Dr. Andrew Schlachter. “There are a whole host of folks in our population we will need to get this vaccine sooner rather than later.” 

Pfizer is waiting for its final safety test to be complete before getting emergency use clearance from the FDA and rolling out the vaccine before the end of the year.

“I mean you kind of worry about them speeding the process up to try and get it out there,” said Jeff Faulkner. “But if they’ve done the proper testing and it’s working on the group of people that they’ve tested with it, I will be fine with it.”

Sarah Houssayni is a health care professional who has had COVID-19 and thinks there is enough study behind the vaccine, so if the FDA clears it, she’s in, but maybe not right away.

“I think I have immunity and I could check and may not need to do it this year but next year for sure I will have to,” she said.

Schlachter believes there should be no question about getting the vaccine when it is available.

“I think if we can continue to see data regarding efficacy of this vaccine, I think it would be just as important as the other vaccines that are commercially available now such as our influenza vaccine,” he said. “I would recommend anyone who is recommended to receive it the vaccine get one.”

If approved, the first to get the COVID-19 vaccine will be critically ill patients, also front line medical professionals, first responders and essential workers.

It could take a year for everyone to be vaccinated, so medical experts say keep wearing your mask, social distancing and staying away from large groups of people.

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