The world hit a few more pandemic milestones this week with the distribution of the coronavirus vaccines developed by Moderna and by Pfizer and BioNTech; the advancement of trials studying other experimental shots; and the approval or authorization of coronavirus vaccines in several countries. The welcome news comes as the number of known infections worldwide rises toward 83 million.
Britain announced on Wednesday that it had granted emergency authorization to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The vaccine is less expensive than others — $3 to $4 a dose — and can be stored in a normal refrigerator, unlike some of its freezer-bound counterparts, making it easier to transport and administer. The vaccine is meant to be given in two doses four weeks apart, but Britain plans to wait up to 12 weeks to give the second shot, freeing up more doses for first injections. Some early evidence suggests the delay might boost the vaccine’s ability to protect people from Covid-19, though experts have repeatedly cautioned that more data is needed.
The state-owned Chinese company Sinopharm announced that one of its experimental vaccines, developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, had an efficacy rate of 79 percent based on an interim