COVID-19 Vaccine updates: ready for distribution

Local Winston-Salem doctor gets the Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine is given in two parts.

Local Winston-Salem doctor gets the Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine is given in two parts.

Mick Royster and Henry Bowen

It’s been a year since the first confirmed Covid-19 cases in America were reported in the state of Washington. Since then, around 416,000 people have died from the Corona Virus in the United States alone. 

As of this year, two Covid-19 vaccines have been developed to be mass distributed across the United States and one has just been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Eight different vaccines are being administered around the world, according to Our World in Data.

 One of the vaccines is manufactured by Pfizer Vaccine which consists of two doses. The first and second dose come 21 days apart. The second vaccine is called the ModernaTX vaccine which is also two doses, but for this vaccine the first and second dose are 28 days apart.

“The first dose primes the immune system and generates memory cells, thus getting the body ready to respond quickly to an infection,” said University of Washington School of Medicine professor Deborah Fuller. “The second dose, also called a booster, expands the number of immune cells that were primed by the first dose, resulting in a stronger antibody response that is generally more durable.”

Another vaccine that just got approved by the FDA is the Johnson and Johnson vaccine made by Johnson and Johnson which is a medical device company. It is only one shot unlike the other vaccines and it can be stored in the refrigerator. 

There are common side effects of the vaccine that come along with most others such as redness, swelling or pain around the site of the injection. Fatigue, fever, headache and aching limbs also might occur after the injection of the second dose. Both vaccines have been distributed without any major problems so far.

Jeremy Livengood, a teacher at Reagan High School who has had one shot of the vaccine says “I did not have any side effects from the first shot. I am ready to have students back in the building.”

According to reports, 22 million doses have been given in the United States since the vaccines have been approved. 

“We’ve already distributed more vaccine than we have healthcare workers and people in nursing homes,” said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Right now only front line workers and people over 75 years old are eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccines are not available for everyone in order for the people who need the vaccine to get them first. This also allows for companies to collect data about the vaccine before they give it to the public.

“The idea behind two separate doses is that the first dose ‘primes’ the immune response and the second dose acts as an amplifier, making the immune response against the virus stronger. Such a strategy is why vaccine manufacturers often design studies to have multiple doses,”said Dave O’Connor, a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Both Covid-19 vaccines will be distributed in three phases. The first phase of the distribution will be given to people of three groups; frontline workers, healthcare workers, and people over the age of 75.

The second phase of distribution, commencing in February, will be given out to people over the age of 65 and people with preexisting conditions of the virus. 

The third and final phase which will be commencing in spring will be available to the general public. By this point in the vaccine distribution, adults and other younger demographics who want the vaccine will already have at least their first dose. 

According to predictions made by Business Insider, by Oct. 2021 around 75% or more of adults in the U.S. will be vaccinated. By 2021, scientists hope everyone who wants the vaccine will have it.