Chicago doctor says COVID-19 vaccine could be available as early as December

The first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the United States is showing promise, and one doctor in Chicago even believes the vaccine could be available by the end of the year.

The experimental vaccine was developed by the National Institutes of Health and the Biotechnology Company, Moderna.

The first 45 volunteers who were vaccinated in March are showing a boost in their immunity.

Dr. Richard Novak, professor and Head of Infectious Diseases at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), says those volunteers have higher levels of antibodies in their systems than people who have a natural infection of the virus.

Novak says that is a good reason to believe the vaccine will work, but we don’t know quite yet.
Later this month, doctors will inject the experimental vaccine into 30,000 volunteers, to see if it’s strong enough to protect people against the virus.

Of those 30,000 volunteers, 1,000 of them will be overseen by Novak through UIC’s trial. 

He says participants will include people over the age of 65 as well as younger people who have underlying chronic illnesses.

“The phase one study did show that some people got minor side effects like fever, body aches. I’m sure many people who have gotten the flu shot at times have experienced that, that’s not unusual after receiving a vaccine,” said Novak.

He says the trial is designed to last for two years, but says best case scenario—a vaccine could be available as soon as December.