Moderna CEO Warns COVID Vaccine 'Is Not A Silver Bullet'

by Madison Vanderberg
Steven Ferdman/Getty

Moderna CEO says the vaccine is “not a silver bullet” and that public health measures, like masks, are extremely important

Moderna and Pfizer are neck and neck in the race to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine and while the imminent vaccine is a huge deal, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel says that he worries about the lack of mask-wearing, saying the COVID vaccine is “not a silver bullet.”

Despite the fact that Bancel is the CEO of the company who stands to profit from being one of the front-runners in the vaccine race, even he is like, Why are you waiting around for my vaccine? Put a mask on!

“We need public health measures…[they are] your best weapon” Bancel tells Bloomberg. “You need to use it well and I think when you look around the world, you have some countries that are doing an excellent job, [like] China, at controlling the virus and some countries where it’s out of control.”

“It’s not a silver bullet,” Bancel says of the vaccine his company is developing.

Without naming America, specifically, Bancel said he is aghast when he sees people in crowded places “without masks” or eating at indoor dining establishments.

“I don’t understand it, it makes no sense to me,” he added. “You are going to get infected, the only question is when.”

Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, also told Bloomberg that the vaccines “cannot bring the epidemic under control before next spring,” which is why mask-wearing and other public health measures (i.e. social distancing, hand washing, etc) are imperative until that happens.

Additionally, Dr. Fauci has made it very clear that even after people start getting the vaccine (which he anticipates happening for the general public in April), masks will still be necessary until everyone gets the vaccine and we truly reach herd immunity.

“Even though, for the general population, [the vaccine] might be 90% to 95% effective,” Fauci told Jake Tapper on Sunday. “You don’t necessarily know, for you, how effective it is.”

Additionally, both Pfizer and Moderna‘s vaccines include two shots taken a month apart and one does not reach that full 90% range of effectiveness against the virus until one to two weeks AFTER you get the second dose. So from your first vaccine dose, it could be nearly two months for it to “work,” so to speak. Now add that to the fact that it’ll take time for local healthcare infrastructures to obtain and roll out the vaccine and that we’re already dealing with anti-vaxxers and that there’s a new crop of people who are specifically skeptical of this vaccine, and well, don’t expect to toss your masks away in April.

“We are not going to turn [the pandemic] on and off, going from where we are to completely normal. It’s going to be a gradual accrual of more normality as the weeks and the months go by, as we get well into 2021,” Fauci added.