Local medical professionals keeping an eye on coronavirus vaccine

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact our daily lives. The race is on to not just to develop a vaccine, but a safe one.

Pharmaceutical companies continue at different stages towards a pandemic vaccine.

As some of those companies are hitting hurdles in trials, there’s growing cautious optimism for health departments and medical providers who may soon be able to distribute.

Elected officials have been touting the prospect of a covid-19 vaccine in recent weeks as “coming soon.”

Talking with the Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Chief of Infection Control, Dr. Alex Benjamin, who is keeping a close eye on these research and development efforts, says it’s a matter of when, not if, these companies get through the final stages of development.

“The real trick is to see how many people are exposed to COVID at that point, right? So they’re looking at trying to find 50 100 hundred 50, people who, after getting the vaccine actually are exposed infected code to see what the effect is of the vaccine in that setting that’s how they’re really monitoring the disease process.”

Essential personnel and first responders may be giving studies a look at the effectiveness and help determine when it’s the general public’s turn to get vaccinated.

Several major pharmaceutical companies are in stage three of trials, but as we’ve seen with companies like Johnson & Johnson and Astra Zeneca, there are some hurdles ahead in the process.

Once there is a tested and safe product, it will fall on medical provers as well as state, regional and municipal health departments to have a plan for distribution.

All eyes are on the future to see when a vaccine will become available.

While Benjamin says that two-to-three month waiting period is realistic, this also comes as we’re getting geared up for flu season.

He added that if you’re not usually the kind of person who prescribes to an influenza vaccine, this year might be the year to lower the potential risk of long-lasting respiratory ailments.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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