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Univ. of Iowa Doctors share thoughts on Pfizer vaccine news

The University had 270 people apart of Pfizer’s global trials
Univ. of Iowa Doctors react to Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine progress
Univ. of Iowa Doctors react to Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine progress
Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 12:43 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWQC) - Doctors involved with overseeing the Pfizer trials at the University of Iowa shared their cautious optimism Monday regarding a covid-19 vaccine, the news comes as Pfizer is looking to take their final steps towards FDA approval.

Dr. Patricia Winokur, Principal investigator for the UI study site for the Pfizer vaccine clinical trial, said the vaccine could be used for emergency use as soon as next month.

“So sometime in December would be when we would be expecting the earliest approval from FDA emergency use authorization," she said. "Then you have to start delivering the vaccine and go into all the difficult decisions.”

Those decisions include logistics behind distributing the vaccine, vaccine storage and prioritizing who will get the vaccine first. Dr. Mike Brownlee, chief pharmacy officer for UI healthcare, said he expects frontline healthcare workers and high-risk groups to receive the vaccine first.

“We’re looking really closely at prioritization internally trying to prepare ourselves for what that might look like once we have received more guidance," he said. "We do know that health care workers will be at the top of the list from a vaccine perspective.”

There’s also concern amongst experts that not enough people will take the vaccine which could be an issue, according to Augustana College epidemiologist Dr. Rebecca Heick.

“if 50% of the population is hesitant (to take the vaccine) that’s going to extend this process,” she said.

Dr. Winokur believes that people will become more okay with taking the vaccine as they see others around them take it.

"I think they may find that as their neighbors and their family members take it and do fine, that that number will increase,” she said.

Dr. Winokur also reassured others that the vaccine will be safe.

“I know people worry that a lot of safety was kind of bypassed with this vaccine, I’ve done a lot of vaccine trials over the years, and this is fast, but a lot of the safety is exactly the way we follow any vaccine candidate,” she said.

While the news may begin to show light at the end of the tunnel, Dr. Brownlee drove home the message that people should not let their guard down yet.

“And while the vaccine is encouraging, the vaccine rate of 90% of protection is very encouraging as well," he said. "It’s going to be a while before we have vaccinations for a large number of individuals in our community and with that, we need continued diligence with wearing masks, social distancing.”

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