Vaccine experts express optimism in fight against COVID-19

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Vaccine experts are expressing optimism as they look ahead in the fight against COVID-19.

"The hope is that by this time next year we'll have a significant percentage of the U.S. population vaccinated," said Dr. Peter Hotez, the Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

Hotez is a part of a team who is creating one of their own vaccines.

"We'll have additional data over the next few weeks then the hope is the company will request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration release of the vaccine in what's called, 'emergency use authorization,'" he said.

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Their vaccine is one of many in the trial phase. This week, more details have emerged from the pharmaceutical company Pzifer on their COVID-19 vaccine. Preliminary analysis suggests the vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing the virus.

"90 percent protection is about the best we get with vaccines," said Hotez.

He adds, however, we should still remain cautious. Social distancing and the use of face masks will still be needed even in the early stages of vaccine distribution. A decrease in hospital admissions is the hopeful game change they expect to see the fastest.

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