Jesse L. Goodman, MD, MPH; John D. Grabenstein, RPh, PhD; M. Miles Braun, MD, MPH
The US government is investing in rapid development of vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), several relying on new technologies. In the US, four vaccine candidates are in phase 3 studies with initial results expected soon. If studies succeed, 1 or more vaccines may become available within a few months. Providing evidence-based information will be particularly important in an environment of polarization and mistrust. This Viewpoint article, authored by Jesse Goodman, MD, MPH, of Georgetown, John D. Grabenstein, RPh, PhD, of the Immunization Action Coalition, and M. Miles Braun, MD, MPH, also of Georgetown, focuses on common questions patients are likely to ask about COVID-19 vaccines:
- How much does a vaccine reduce the risk of COVID-19 and its complications?
- How safe is a vaccine candidate?
- Will the vaccine be effective for all patients?
- Can clinicians be confident in the findings because important information was made public and reviewed by independent experts?
- Is a vaccine that is being made available licensed, or is it being provided under an emergency-use authorization?
- Will all COVID-19 vaccines be the same?
- Can vaccinated people stop worrying about COVID-19?
The article identifies and helps answer these seven important questions that must be addressed. “It is critical that clinicians stay well informed about emerging data so that they can help patients make sound decisions about the vaccines needed to help end the pandemic,” the authors conclude.