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Former CDC Director: A Vaccine Is Not a Panacea

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Where are we with a vaccine? What's the timeline going to look like? How effective will a vaccine be?

These are just some of the questions circling around a vaccine.

So, to help with some of the questions, here's a look at the top vaccine candidates.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Candidate

Johnson & Johnson just moved into Phase 3 of its trial. The company's vaccine candidate will be a single-shot dose.

The vaccine candidate, according to the National Institute of Health, is a "recombinant vector vaccine that uses a human adenovirus to express the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in cells. Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that cause the common cold."

The U.S. government has purchased 100 million doses of the vaccine, with the option to buy 200 million more if the vaccine gets approval.

Moderna Vaccine Candidate

Moderna's vaccine candidate would rely on being given in two doses. It is an mRNA vaccine, meaning that it uses messenger RNA, which is the genetic material that carries information about a viral protein, and this is delivered to cells who are producing the protein and then trains the immune system to recognize it. 

It has a deal with the U.S. government through Operation Warp Speed to sell 100 million doses of its candidate--if it gets an EUA from the FDA--to the U.S.

AstraZeneca Vaccine Candidate

AstraZeneca's U.S. vaccine candidate trials are still on hold due to a possible adverse reaction in a patient from one of its U.K. trials. Its U.K. trial has resumed.

This candidate is also being given in two doses. This differs from Moderna's vaccine because uses a non-replicating adenovirus found in chimpanzees to deliver a SARS-CoV-2 protein which would induce an immune response.

AstraZeneca has an agreement to with the government to produce and deliver 300 million doses of the vaccine candidate. 

Pfizer Vaccine Candidate

Like the others, this would be administered in two doses, and is also an mRNA vaccine.

Pfizer has an agreement with Operation Warp Speed for 100 million doses if the vaccine candidate receives an EUA. Pfizer could be tapped for 500 million more doses if it gets approval.

Dr. Tom Frieden, CEO of Resolve to Save Lives and a former CDC director, joined TheStreet to discuss where we stand with a vaccine and his thoughts on its effectiveness, noting that a vaccine isn't a "fairytale ending" to the pandemic. 

Watch his full take on the state of vaccines in the video above. 

You can follow Jim Cramer and Katherine Ross on Twitter at @JimCramer and @byKatherineRoss. Read more from Katherine Ross here.

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