New vaccinations shine a hopeful light on the COVID-19 epidemic

Information on new COVID-19 vaccines

Experts say that COVID-19 vaccinations may begin rollout as early as mid-December.

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Experts say that COVID-19 vaccinations may begin rollout as early as mid-December.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking to the upcoming vaccines as a light at the end of the tunnel for this public health crisis. Over 200 COVID-19 vaccines are currently being tested for use in the United States, and so far only five vaccines are in the third stage, or the clinical testing stage. The five companies making the vaccines include AstraZeneca, Janssen, Moderna, Novavax, and Pfizer. Of these companies, Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca have the leading vaccines. Currently, only Pfizer and Moderna have applied for emergency use authorization, and if they were to get authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), then vaccines could be distributed by mid-December.

Experts say it’s possible that up to 70 million vaccines could be distributed in the U.S. by the end of 2020. Since the U.S has a population exceeding the estimated amount of vaccines, they will be distributed in phases, with individual states being responsible for coming up with their own distribution plans. In Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam has introduced a three-phase plan. The first phase contains healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Critical infrastructure staff, adults with high-risk medical conditions, and adults ages 65 and older will receive their vaccination in the second phase. In the third phase, COVID-19 vaccines will be made available to the general public, but it will most likely take at least five months to get to this phase.

So far, COVID-19 vaccines haven’t displayed any signs that they will have any long-term negative effects. Midlo English teacher Ms. Brooke Hoke said, “I am a little leery about the limited time for testing, but I would like to help stop the spread if possible.” This was a common concern since the long-term effects of this vaccine are currently unknown. Like most vaccines, there will most likely be soreness or pain around the injection site and the possibility of cold-like symptoms for a few days following vaccination. Despite these mild side effects, both Pfizer and Moderna claim their vaccine to be quite effective at fighting off COVID-19. Both companies also require two doses of the vaccine to be fully effective, with a two-week wait between each shot.

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