The change to standard time is always a bit depressing: darkness arrives earlier, serving as a chilling reminder that a long winter is fast approaching. It’s been a tough year already and moving the clocks back last weekend seemed even harder this time. We could all use a bit of good news as the nights grow long – and it came on Monday with the announcement that a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer was 90 per cent effective. What does it all mean in terms of a potential end to the pandemic? Aïssatou Aïcha Sow, a virology and immunology researcher at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique at the Univesité du Québec, offers a comprehensive explainer about the latest developments on COVID-19 vaccines and how the Canadian government has reserved a number of doses from different manufacturers.

For your weekend reading, I’ve assembled some of the best stories from the global network of The Conversation on the latest coronavirus developments  – all intended to provide you, our loyal readers, with relevant information about this important public health issue.

Have a great weekend and we’ll be back in your Inbox on Monday.

Scott White

CEO | Editor-in-Chief

Weekend Reads: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 vaccine update: Pfizer may be the frontrunner, but Canada has hedged its bets

Aïssatou Aïcha Sow, Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)

Canada has set aside a total of 414 million doses of different types of vaccine. Some exploit known mechanisms, others are based on previously untested approaches.

COVID-19 vaccines are coming – how will we know they work and are safe?

Adam Kleczkowski, University of Strathclyde

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine may be rolled out in mere weeks.

Pfizer vaccine: what an ‘efficacy rate above 90%’ really means

Zania Stamataki, University of Birmingham

In science, vaccine efficacy and effectiveness mean something different.

Pfizer’s ultra-cold vaccine could be difficult to distribute

Michael Head, University of Southampton

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine needs to be stored at -80⁰C.

90% efficacy for Pfizer’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is striking. But we need to wait for the full data

Harry Al-Wassiti, Monash University; Colin Pouton, Monash University; Kylie Quinn, RMIT University

Early analysis suggests this vaccine has an efficacy of over 90%. So if you took ten people who were going to get sick from COVID-19 and vaccinated them, only one would get sick.

COVID-19 crackdowns: Fines are fine but bring on the ‘norm entrepreneurs’

Bill Bogart, University of Windsor

A chorus of prominent voices that seek to persuade Canadians that COVID-19 compliance is in everyone’s interest.

COVID-19 drug and vaccine patents are putting profit before people

Ronald Labonte, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa; Mira Johri, Université de Montréal

The TRIPS waiver makes COVID-19 treatments more accessible globally by enabling manufacture and distribution of COVID-19 drugs and medical supplies that would normally be protected by patents.

No, a hug isn’t COVID-safe. But if you have to do it, here’s what to keep in mind

Lara Herrero, Griffith University; Elina Panahi, Griffith University

The loss of the simple act of hugging has taken a big emotional toll for many people during the pandemic.