Will Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine help end the pandemic? Here’s what may happen

The United Kingdom has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for a rollout from early next week. Russian President Vladimir also ordered mass vaccinations with the Sputnik V vaccine from next week. And some more are coming.

So, will these vaccines help end the Covid-19 pandemic? What do these developments mean for India? On his show News Today at 9, India Today TV Consulting Editor Rajdeep Sardesai spoke to top experts to find answers to these and other relevant questions.

Dr K Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), said that the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine announcement is a great success for science and a good success for public health in the UK and Europe.

“It’s unlikely to change the course of the pandemic in most parts of the world. Logistics will be a challenge. The vaccine requires extreme cold. But it might show the way for other vaccines to come. Hope it will be supplied to most parts of the world, including India,” Dr K Srinath Reddy said.

Dr Vikram Talaulikar, a Goan doctor based in the UK who is part of the Oxford vaccine human trials, said that it’s a great day for science. “The vaccines are safe. They have undergone robust testing. Credit and salute to scientists. We ought to be proud. It marks the beginning of the end of the pandemic,” said Dr Vikram Talaulikar who is also Associate Specialist, University College London Hospital NHS Trust.

Dr Gifty Immanuel, scientist, infectious diseases and human virology, however, had his concerns. “Fast-forwarding of the process may be dangerous. It’s amazing to see these 90%, 95% efficacy numbers. Inflammatory reactions may not be a vaccine-induced immune response. We don’t know the long-term side-effects and efficacy. We need to evaluate and re-evaluate,” Dr Gifty Immanuel said.

So, how long will the immunity last?

Dr K Srinath Reddy said, “We don’t know. But you can protect the vulnerable, the healthcare workers. You can disrupt the chain of infections. It may not be the end of the pandemic, but even six months of immunity may help.”

ALSO READ | World gets its first Covid-19 vaccine. Does everyone need to get a shot?

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