Shots of Hope
Promising safe and effective Covid-19 Vaccines
On December 11, 2020 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to be distributed in the U.S. for the prevention of Covid-19. Rollout began with the first vaccine given on December 14 to a critical care nurse in the intensive care unit at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, NY.
Pfizer said its shots are 95-percent effective against the disease.
The FDA approved emergency use authorization for the Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna on December 18. Moderna claims 94.5-percent effectiveness.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine require two shots. Doses are given approximately three weeks’ apart for Pfizer and approximately four weeks’ apart for Moderna.
On April 13, the FDA and CDC recommended a pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccine use while scientists investigate possible links between the vaccine and six cases of blood clots in women ages 18 to 48. Visit fda.gov and cdc.gov for further updates or changes.
The FDA has stated that it has rigorous scientific and regulatory processes in place to facilitate development and ensure the safety, effectiveness and quality of Covid-19 vaccines.
Vaccination Rollout and Expansion
First in line in the U.S. to receive the shots were healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities. Healthcare personnel included those working in healthcare settings with potential exposure to patients or infectious materials. Long-term care facility residents are defined as adults unable to live independently who are residing in facilities where services include medical and personal care.
Next came frontline essential workers — such as firefighters, police officers, corrections officers, postal workers, grocery clerks, public transportation workers, food and agricultural workers and those working in education — followed by people 75 years and older, those 65 to 74 years of age, people 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions, and other essential workers.
Vaccine rollout continues to expand, and multiple states are opening vaccination to include additional age-groups.
From President Joseph R. Biden’s Inauguration Day on January 20,2021, through April 5, 150 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been given. On April 6, President Biden announced that by April 19, all adults 18 years of age and older in every state will be eligible for vaccination.
The most commonly reported side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine include injection site pain, fatigue, a headache, muscle ache, joint pain, fever and chills. More people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose.
As of mid-April, there have been more than 566,000 deaths from Covid-19 in the U.S., with an uptick in Covid-19 cases in multiple states. Medical experts warn that surges could increase — as people travel, socialize more and ignore health recommendations and guidelines.
In addition to wearing a mask, social distancing and taking other precautions against the spread of the virus, vaccination may be your best hope.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Covid-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting Covid-19. If you do get Covid-19, vaccination may help prevent you from becoming seriously ill. Getting the vaccine may protect those around you who are at risk for severe illness from the disease, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Seniors account for 80 percent of the deaths from Covid-19.
Covid-19 vaccination will protect you as well by creating an antibody response without your heaving to experience the actual disease. If you get the disease without being vaccinated, it is unknown how long any immunity you receive from having gotten the disease will last. The risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity.
Getting the Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available to you is the right step toward helping to protect entire communities and stop the pandemic.
Once you have been vaccinated, the CDC advises continuing to follow Covid-19 safety guidelines and recommendations, such as mask wearing, social distancing and washing your hands.
You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks following the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, and two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Covid-19 vaccine.
According to the CDC, once you are fully vaccinated, you can visit others who are fully vaccinated at their home without wearing a mask. In addition, you can travel in the U.S. without a travel test and without quarantining after travel, and travel internationally without a travel test (depending on the destination) and without quarantining after travel. You should not visit the home of anyone at risk for severe illness from Covid-19 without wearing a mask, and you should continue to avoid medium or large gatherings.
For more information and for Covid-19 vaccine developments and updates, visit the FDA and CDC websites (fda.gov and cdc.gov).