WATCH: What will a future vaccine mean for the pandemic?

Dr. Ranit Mishori of Georgetown University spoke with PBS NewsHour’s John Yang on Nov. 23 about how Americans should approach the holiday season amid the pandemic. Mishori said she’s feeling “hopeful” after three pharmaceutical companies released preliminary data that suggests that their vaccine candidates could be up to, or more than, 90 percent effective. She added that it’s possible that some of these vaccines could begin to be rolled out in limited supply as early as next month.

Mishori noted, though, that “the devil is always in the details, and the details here are about the dissemination” of these vaccines. Some of the candidates must be kept at extremely cold temperatures, which could make distribution more difficult in more rural parts of the country. She also pointed out that a vaccine won’t be enough to wipe out the virus. Researchers are also not sure how long immunity, either through natural infection or vaccination, will last, or if there will be a difference between the two forms of immunity.

“We’re still early in learning about all of this, because the disease has been with us for less than a year. Regardless, I think even if you’re lucky enough to get the vaccine, it doesn’t mean that you can shed your mask, start partying, have a big gathering in your home,” Mishori said. “I think it’s really important to stress that you should continue to practice all of these public health measures to protect others.”

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