Pfizer Vaccine Approval, Making Solar Power For Everyone. August 27, 2021, Part 1

Pfizer Vaccine Approval, Making Solar Power For Everyone. August 27, 2021, Part 1

By Science Friday and WNYC Studios

Science Friday

Friday, 27 August

Pfizer’s Vaccine Is Now Fully Approved. What’s Next For The Pandemic?

This week, the COVID-19 vaccine marketed by Pfizer finally received full FDA approval, moving out of the realm of “emergency use” to the status of a regular drug.

In the wake of that change, many organizations—from the Pentagon to Ohio State University to the city of Chicago—are moving to require vaccinations against the coronavirus. It remains to be seen just how much the status change will move the needle on vaccination numbers—and more importantly, new cases and hospitalizations—in the U.S.

Sarah Zhang, staff writer at The Atlantic, joins Ira to talk about what might be next for the pandemic, discussing the virus becoming endemic and how the Delta variant is changing people’s risk calculations. They also explore how different countries, from the U.K. to Vietnam to New Zealand, are coping. Plus, ways that the virus continues to upend business as normal—from SpaceX launches to water treatment.


How To Make Solar Power Work For Everyone

If you follow Ira on social media, you may have noticed a trend in his posts over the last few months: They’ve become very joyful about the cost of his energy bill. Why? This year, he installed solar panels on his roof—and he’s not alone. The cost of solar panels has dropped nearly 70 percent since 2014, so more and more individuals and companies are jumping in. Even during COVID-19, solar installations in the U.S. reached a record high in 2020.

For Ira and many others, solar panels turn homes into their own power generators. During some times of the day, the panels produce enough excess power that it’s fed back to the grid.

As more and more people jump into solar power, big questions remain about how an energy grid designed for fossil fuels will be impacted. If everyone’s home is a utility, how do you best distribute power to a region? Accessibility is also a big concern. If there’s a need to retool how the country thinks about energy creation and use, how do we make sure it’s accessible to everyone?

Joining Ira to talk through these big-picture solar energy quandaries are Joseph Berry, senior research fellow at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, and Sam Evans-Brown, executive director of Clean Energy New Hampshire based in Concord, New Hampshire.

Heart UK