“Why can’t I get a COVID vaccine yet?”
You may be asking yourself and others this maddening question every day. For vaccines to become available to everyone, COVID vaccine trials must continue. When more manufacturers have completed clinical trials, they will be able to apply for authorized use from the FDA and begin mass production of their vaccine. Until that happens, demand for the COVID vaccine will likely exceed the supply, making it difficult for everyone to get a vaccine as soon as they want one.
Two vaccines have already been approved for use, with a third product made by Johnson & Johnson expected to be available to the public in March. It’s important that we have multiple versions of the COVID vaccine in production at once so that we can produce enough for everyone.
One way you can contribute to that effort is by signing up for a clinical study with Clinical Research Associates as soon as enrollment begins again. We expect to begin pediatric, adolescent, and adult clinical studies for COVID vaccines in the coming months. You can learn more here.
We will likely continue studying COVID vaccines and enrolling in clinical trials for the foreseeable future because there will always be a need.
COVID vaccine trials must continue to update and improve vaccines.
You may have read recent news reports about COVID-19 variants originating in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Unfortunately, we should expect this virus to continue evolving, and we do not yet know if current vaccines will protect against every variant.
Just like the flu vaccine, we may need to update the COVID-19 vaccine every year. We need to continue research so that we can learn how long protection lasts, and if the variants are more resistant to current vaccines. Scientists are working hard to stay ahead of the virus, and this means that clinical trials will continue for a long time.
COVID vaccines should work for everyone.
Due to the complexity of human DNA, vaccines may work differently in diverse populations, and we must make sure that vaccines are tested before administered to a new group. For example, there are not yet vaccines for adolescents or younger children. Clinical trials must be completed in this age group to determine whether the vaccine is effective in this group, and if the recommended dose size should change based on age. We expect to start clinical trials for this group in the coming months.
Everyone who wants one should have access.
It is good news that two vaccines have already been authorized, because health care workers and people who are severely at risk can begin receiving the vaccine. But what about the rest of us? So far, states and cities have had trouble providing enough vaccine to everyone who wants to get one due to limited supply. At this stage, there is simply not enough vaccine for everyone who wants to get one.
When more manufacturers are able to complete clinical trials, they will be able to produce and distribute more vaccines. This would allow more people to access shots that would protect them from COVID-19.
Use Tennessee’s COVID-19 portal to learn when you can sign up to be vaccinated here.
Sign up for a clinical trial here.
You can also visit our FAQ page to learn more about what a trial involves, and how safety and the protection of human rights are incorporated at every level.