U of M infectious disease expert: New vaccines will ‘revolutionize’ vaccine production

University of Minnesota infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Osterholm told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the rapid production of a new COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer, and likely Moderna in the coming days, will turn a new page in the history of medical technology.

"It is a modern medical miracle and I am very confident that it will be a game-changer over time that will change the face of this pandemic," Osterholm said. "It’s not going to happen overnight because it’s going to take months to get enough vaccines for this country."

Osterholm told KSTP the quickness of the new vaccines — which were developed in less than a year — is noteworthy but to have both vaccines reach an effectiveness rate of at least 95% is something very few in the field of medical science were expecting to see this fast.

"I would add one note of caution to all of this, however, because we have to see what happens over time," Osterholm said. "Will that level of protection be maintained, or will we see what we call ‘waning immunity’ where over time it goes from 95% to 90 and even maybe 80%?"

Osterholm said there will not be enough supply of the vaccine to meet demand. Distribution for the Pfizer vaccine has already begun and when Moderna gets its expected approval in the next few days, Osterholm believes the supply of the vaccine will still have to be ramped up, which will likely take several months.