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'We shouldn't be afraid of this disease by next fall:' Ottawa epidemiologist on Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

"The seasonal flu vaccine has between 40 and 70 per cent effectiveness, depending upon the variation that you're looking at," said Dr. Raywat Deonandan, epidemiologist and associate professor, uOttawa. "So, 90 per cent is extraordinary."
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Vaccine/Shutterstock

An expert in diseases at the University of Ottawa suspects the pandemic could be declared over by some time in 2022, as he says Pfizer's candidate for a COVID-19 vaccine shows enormous potential.

Pfizer said an early peek at its vaccine data suggested the shots may be 90 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19, indicating the company is on track later this month to file an emergency use application with U.S. regulators.

"The seasonal flu vaccine has between 40 and 70 per cent effectiveness, depending upon the variation that you're looking at," said Dr. Raywat Deonandan, epidemiologist and associate professor, uOttawa. "So, 90 per cent is extraordinary."

Dr. Deonandan cautioned that the raw data has yet to be seen, only what Pfizer announced in a news release, and that the vaccine remains in testing. However, he is sounding an optimistic note.

As for when Canadians could be innoculated against COVID-19, that depends on which company or companies ultimately produce successful vaccines. The productions and distribution of vaccines could also require refrigeration, as well as recipients getting more than one dose.

"I think our vulnerable population and our healthcare workers might have access [to a vaccine] by next spring of next year, which means an immunogenic reponse by summer or fall," Dr. Deonandan told The Rob Snow Show on 1310 NEWS. "Which means, we shouldn't be afraid of this disease by next fall."

Based on that, Dr. Deonandan said he expects widespread vaccination and an end to the pandemic being declared some time in 2022.

The Pfizer vaccine showing early promise is one of the vaccines the Canadian government has negotiated to purchase.

 

- with files from The Associated Press




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Jason White

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