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Moderna, AstraZeneca-Oxford Lead the Race for a COVID-19 Vaccine, but Public Availability Will Take Nearly a Year, and Return to Normalcy Even Longer, Say US Physicians in InCrowd Data

August 11, 2020

With two thirds believing that herd immunity will require over 60% of the US population to be vaccinated, US physicians view a return to normal in 15 months, over twice as long as two months earlier

WATERTOWN, MA August 11, 2020—With nearly 30 vaccines for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in clinical evaluation, US physicians on the frontlines of COVID-19 viewed candidates from Moderna and AstraZeneca-University of Oxford (Oxford) as their top ranked choices for a potentially viable vaccine, followed by Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson. Yet public availability of vaccines is estimated on average to take 11 months—according to respondents. COVID-19 frontline-treating physicians now believe a return to normalcy (i.e., no need for social distances, masks, limiting building capacity) will not occur until at least October 2021—an estimate that is more than twice as long as physician estimates in May.

Findings are from two separate reports conducted and sourced by InCrowd, the pioneer for real-time, high-quality primary market intelligence for the life science industry. Findings reflect opinions and impressions of responding physicians only and are not intended to be perceived as endorsements..

“Physician feedback indicates the complexity of the challenge we face in choosing, and then proceeding with, mass vaccination. Physicians are closely watching and waiting as vaccine research and updates emerge,” said Daniel S. Fitzgerald, CEO and president of Apollo Intelligence, parent firm to InCrowd. “We’ll continue to carefully monitor and amplify the highly informed opinion and voice of physicians as they observe and assess the global push for vaccines and viable treatments.”

US infectious disease (ID) specialists view Moderna as having the vaccine that will be first approved (45%), first manufactured (29%), and first accessible in the US (41%). In contrast, 77% of emergency medicine and critical care (EMCC) specialists, primary care physicians (PCPs), and pediatricians (PEDs) were unsure of which vaccine offered the greatest promise, although the highest proportion of those with some knowledge believed Moderna (9%) and AstraZeneca-Oxford (5%) to be the most promising.

Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford are head-to-head in terms of ID physicians’ perceptions on efficacy metrics, including preventing a patient from getting COVID-19, having the strongest efficacy across the most people, delivering herd immunity, and allowing society to return to normal. In verbatim remarks numerous physicians of all specialties cited Moderna’s candidate as a “new and novel manufacturing” approach that “should be the most immunologically robust vaccine and least susceptible to viral mutations (i.e., D614, G614).” AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson’s entrants tied for top ranking among the vaccines that EMCCs, PCPs, and PEDs believed could ramp up manufacturing the fastest.

The infectious disease physicians who opted out of naming a most promising vaccine candidate cite that it is still early days, that many distribution questions remain unanswered, and that it is still unclear if conferring sustained immunity to COVID-19 will even be possible.

Pessimism was evident in the responses of frontline COVID-19 treaters, with 36% believing the pandemic cannot be contained at present. A further 36% believe the US will contain the virus once a vaccine or an effective treatment is widely distributed.

Some additional findings from InCrowd’s two reports include:

  • Vaccine availability expected by infectious disease specialists in an average of 11 months—with a mean of 10 months. Over 80% of them expect a vaccine within a year.
  • Sixty-eight percent population will need to be inoculated to achieve the herd immunity necessary for viral extinction, according to these infectious disease specialists.
  • Nearly three-quarters of infectious disease doctors said that healthcare workers should be the first to receive the vaccine, should distribution be tiered, although vulnerable populations also ranked high.

InCrowd’s Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine Development Report included perceptions of n=100 US ID specialists responding between June 26–July 6, 2020. This included n=44 in community hospitals, n=41 in academic hospitals, and n=15 in office-based practices. InCrowd’s COVID-19 Frontline Treating Physician Tracking Report—Wave 6, included the perceptions of n=211 US physicians, including n=90 EMCC, n=63 PCPs, and n=58 PEDs. This survey fielded on June 26, 2020.

To review the complete findings, please download a PDF of the full vaccine development report or the full Wave 6 report.

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