If You Did This in 2020, You Can Get Your COVID Vaccine Sooner
Pfizer just gave this group of people an earlier vaccine opportunity.
The first coronavirus vaccines have already been administered in the United States, but a limited supply means many will have to wait for their chance. With the hope of immunity on the horizon, the general public is eager to skip the line, and it looks like some people might be getting a chance. Pfizer is giving placebo patients who participated in their 2020 trials an opportunity to get the COVID vaccine sooner. Read on to find out the reasoning behind this new policy, and for more vaccine perks, If You Get a COVID-19 Vaccine, You Can Get This For Free.
Pfizer emailed study participants earlier this week to notify them that they were giving people who got the placebo a chance to get the actual COVID vaccine shot as early as Dec. 18, per Bloomberg.
According to the email, healthcare workers and nursing home residents will still be the earliest of the participants to get the vaccine. However, the other participants will be able to get the vaccine six months after they originally received their second placebo injection, which will be January or February—still well before the general public will get their shots.
"The Vaccine Transition Option is a voluntary process that offers all participants 16 years and older in the placebo group an option to transition to the vaccine group," the email reads.
Raymond Decker, MD, a physician with the Virginia Research Center, told NBC that they have to notify placebo participants when their turn becomes available, as Pfizer's double-blind study means that participants don't actually know whether or not they received a placebo shot.
"We know it's safe and we know it's effective, so we want these people protected as well," he explained. "If you got the placebo, then we're going to bring you back in and we're going to give you the real vaccine, and then continue to follow along with you to see how long you have the antibodies and to see how long you are being protected from COVID-19."
According to a TMZ source, many participants were able to gauge whether or not they had received a placebo shot or a real COVID vaccine, however. As Pfizer reported, 162 placebo patients ended up with COVID after the trials, compared to only eight of the participants who actually got the vaccine.
Per the TMZ source, some of the study participants who received the placebo were upset they had "put their lives on the line" to be a part of the trial but were getting none of the benefits of actually getting vaccinated. Of course, having a placebo group during trials is essential to determining the efficacy of a vaccine.
Wondering when it's going to be your turn if you didn't participate in the trials? After healthcare workers, nursing home residents, and high-risk individuals, the general public is set to get the vaccine. Read on to find out when you should expect the vaccine at your local pharmacy, and for vaccine news, discover The One Thing About the COVID Vaccine That's Surprising Even Doctors.
Walgreens expects to be able to start administering shots to members of the general public at their 9,021 locations in all 50 states in the coming months.
"Over the next couple of months, we anticipate that we'll be able to have [it in] our stores similar to the flu season," Rina Shah, group vice president of pharmacy operations at Walgreens, said during a Dec. 14 interview on CNBC's The Exchange. She clarified that, for the general public, this would be "hopefully in the spring timeframe." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
CVS executives are also fairly certain they'll receive enough doses for the general public at their more than 9,900 locations across 49 states within months. During an interview with CNBC, Chris Cox, senior vice president of CVS, said he hoped they would be able to begin administering doses to the general public "somewhere in the April/May timeframe." And for more on vaccine distribution, You Need to Do This Before Getting the Vaccine, White House Official Says.
Costco is planning to roll out their vaccines in a similar timeframe, as well. During a Dec. 14 interview on CNBC's Closing Bell, Costco CEO Craig Jelinek said that the general public would likely be able to get a vaccine at one of the chain's more than 500 pharmacy locations as soon as early spring. And if you're feeling skeptical, Dr. Fauci Just Debunked the 4 Biggest Myths About the COVID Vaccine.
Walmart is already preparing for their vaccine shipments. According to a company announcement, extra freezer space and dry ice is already being laid out at locations to ensure that they can store vaccine at their necessary temperatures. They also note that the company will follow state requirements, which will probably also put them in the spring timeframe for a general public rollout.
"The federal government will allocate the vaccine to states, and states will determine who should receive the first doses of the vaccine and when. Walmart will not have any say in who can receive the vaccine, but we are ready to support states once they do," the announcement reads. And for more on how Walmart is handling the pandemic, Walmart Is Doing This Again as COVID Surges.