What the COVID-19 vaccine means for us

Pfizer, Moderna announce their vaccine efficacy

There are currently more than 200 versions of the COVID-19 vaccine being produced around the world. Multiple companies are working to create an effective solution and a few have been successful in creating a vaccine. These companies have finished intensive research and are now setting out to officially administer their vaccines. 

AP News reported that Pfizer may be able to have 50 million vaccines out by the end of 2020, leaving vaccines for 25 million people as the vaccine requires two doses per person. 

However, BBC has stated that Pfizer sent about 2.9 million in their first shipment, and are expected to get 50 million Americans vaccinated in March. Pfizer’s vaccines must be stored and transported at extremely low temperatures, exactly -70 degrees Celsius. This may make it difficult to transport the shipments, and some hospitals may have inadequate equipment to manage the vaccines.

Pfizer has also been able to confirm that its vaccine is 95% effective. Pfizer collaborated with BioNTech, a German biotechnology company to create their vaccine. Pfizer was able to come out with this news about 10 months after America and the rest of the world went under its first lockdown. 

Along with Pfizer, a second company called Moderna recently released news of their vaccine which they said is 94.5% effective, making the Pfizer vaccine slightly more effective. According to ScienceMag, Moderna’s vaccine will be available for $32-$37 per dose in developed nations and the company will try to make it more affordable in less developed countries. 

On Nov. 30, Moderna filed a request for it to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which if approved, will lead to the vaccine’s release in the U.S. On Dec. 10, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine has already been distributed across the nation to specific hospitals, so that those who are in the healthcare industry can be vaccinated first. Along with that, those who work in nursing homes will also be prioritized, as stated in an NPR interview

As the New York Times has stated, both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have not produced any significant issues throughout their testing process. Therefore, they recommend it is safe to trust both companies. 

The CDC has listed what the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine are. One such benefit is the ability to protect oneself from becoming extremely ill; even if you get COVID-19, the symptoms will be less severe. However, AP News has stated that returning to daily life before the pandemic will take a while, but it is estimated that Americans will be able to develop some level of herd immunity by May of 2021. Masks and social distancing will most likely still be required, even with a vaccine given to a majority of the American population. The CDC stressed the reminder that creating immunity will take time.

Healthcare workers and those who work in nursing homes will be the first people to receive the vaccines, as stated by the CDC. The CDC has also stated that it plans on distributing vaccines in phases. After the mentioned groups have been vaccinated, then essential workers and the elderly will be receiving them, and so on and so forth. As of now, young people and children have not been prioritized as much as the other groups. Although the number of vaccines imported by Pfizer and Moderna are limited, the CDC hopes that they will be able to give widespread distribution of the vaccine soon. 

“As a nurse in direct patients’ care and doing high risk procedures with COVID patients, I was in Phase 1a of the vaccination planning. I received both my doses of Moderna during the window that was recommended by the clinical trials,” nurse at Kaiser Permanente Hospital Jennifer Ponce said. 

CNN has reported the CDC is currently organizing a multi-phase plan for Americans to receive vaccinations. President Joseph Biden has also announced a vaccination plan in which Americans will soon be able to get vaccines, about 1.5 million a day via CNN.

“We need to have some humility here,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID director, said to the New York Times. “We really don’t know what the real number is. I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent [for herd immunity]. But, I’m not going to say 90 percent.”

BBC also reported that Dr. Fauci claimed that if 70% of Americans get the vaccine, then it is possible that social distancing and wearing masks will no longer be necessary. 


Information from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/12/03/opinion/covid-19-vaccine-timeline.html (Graphic by Sabrina Thi/Talon)