Q: Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

A: Not yet, but researchers are working rapidly to develop one. Part of the reason public health officials worldwide are working to contain the spread of COVID-19 is that no vaccine exists that can protect humans from infection with SARS-CoV-2, which is the name of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The first clinical trial for a vaccine began Monday in Seattle. Four healthy volunteers received injections in the first test of the experimental vaccine, according to the Associated Press. Although the first stage of this trial came together rapidly, it is still likely to be at least a year or more before the vaccine is ready.

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health has said that although researchers have developed a vaccine to test in record time, that does not mean it can be widely used in time to slow the spread of the virus.

“I want to make sure people understand, and I’ve said that over and over again, that does not mean we have a vaccine that we can use,” Fauci said in a congressional hearing last week. “We mean it’s record time to get it tested. It’s going to take a year to a year and a half to really know if it works.”

The trial in Seattle will enroll 45 healthy adult volunteers ages 18 to 55 years over about 6 weeks, according to the NIH.

Ciara McCarthy covers public health for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can reach her at or at 580-6597 or on Twitter at @mccarthy_ciara. To support local journalism at the Advocate through Report for America, go to

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Health Reporter

Ciara McCarthy covers public health and health care for the Advocate as a Report for America corps member. Questions, tips, or ideas? Please get in touch: or call 361-580-6597.

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