U-M epidemiologist who led COVID-19 committee reflects on success of vaccines

Committee dug through data on vaccines

U-M epidemiologist who led COVID-19 committee reflects on success of vaccines
U-M epidemiologist who led COVID-19 committee reflects on success of vaccines

DETROIT – Each of the three vaccines has gone through an intense FDA review process.

They’ve also been the subject of day-long public meetings, where a panel of independent experts dug through the data -- ultimately recommending each for emergency use.

Leading that critical committee is Dr. Arnold Monto. A world-renowned epidemiologist from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Local 4 asked Monto to reflect on the vaccines’ success and asked what’s next.

“These vaccines, the ones that have been approved, are so above the expectation,” Monto said.

READ: 1 year into COVID: What we wish we’d known

The original goal of the COVID-19 vaccines was to be at least 50 to 60 percent effective. They’ve far surpassed that. Monto said their success has been a great surprise.

He said the biggest challenge facing the FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Committee has not been evaluating the actual vaccines, but rather, not being able to gather in-person to do it.

Monto cautions that there is always a potential risk of unexpected reactions with new vaccines. However, he said the probability of that is very low.

He is very concerned about people who are reluctant to get vaccinated. He also cautioned against states dropping precautions prematurely.

Monto said there will be more vaccines coming before the advisory committee for their consideration. He said they may also be called to examine the data on how the vaccines perform in children, once those trials are finished.

READ: More coverage from The Coronavirus Crisis: One Year Later


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