The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


22 Mar 2021

Setting it Straight: COVID-19 vaccines and influenza vaccines: Part 3, the 90% surprise

As discussed earlier in this series, our initial thinking on confronting the novel, rapidly spreading respiratory infection we’ve all come to know as COVID-19, was very much conditioned by the long human experience with that historic scourge, influenza, the dreaded flu. Both diseases can be characterised by severe pneumonias that, in the beginning at least, seemed to be broadly similar. When the key US regulatory agency – the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – put out the guidelines for what might be regarded as an approvable vaccine for blocking SARS-CoV-2 infection, they set the bar low at 50 per cent efficacy. That is, after all, what the informed community generally accepts for influenza.