On December 13, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection announced that the coronavirus vaccine can begin distribution, and the first batch of vaccines from Pfizer were immediately shipped out throughout the United States.
Since there are not yet enough vaccine doses for everyone who wants one, the U.S. government has decided the order in which people may receive the vaccine, making sure to give it first to the people who need it most. Healthcare workers like doctors, nurses and pharmacists will be the first to receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved, either Pfizer-BioNTech’s or Moderna’s.
Many Americans are worried about getting this new vaccine and some have said they are nervous about fainting or about the physical or mental side effects. However, Dr. Choi, a Southern Californian surgeon, explained that there are many adults who feel faint or nauseous about the idea of needles in general, just like some do when they sprain an ankle or a wrist.
“It didn’t hurt at all, at most I felt a tiny little pinch. The shot itself took less than a second,” Dr. Choi told News By Kids. “I felt zero side effects from the shot, but the next day my arm felt just a little bit sore.” Overall, Dr. Choi said he is glad he received the new vaccine and is looking forward to getting his second booster shot in early January.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the first time scientists have ever used messenger RNA, or mRNA, in a vaccine, which is what Dr. Choi said makes Pfizer’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine so unique. Normal vaccines inject a weakened or inactive virus (like the flu virus) into your body. Instead, the mRNA vaccine causes your body to make a spike protein that is found on the COVID-19 virus. Then your body recognizes that protein as being foreign which results in antibodies being produced to attack the spike protein cells. Then your body ends up with the antibodies that it will need in case you are actually infected with the coronavirus one day.
With good news of vaccine distribution, Americans are overjoyed about the possibility that life may return to normal again. Operation Warp Speed, a U.S. government partnership to handle coronavirus vaccine production, had hoped to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of the year. But Operation Warp Speed’s Chief Science Advisor Dr. Moncef Sloaoui reported that vaccinations have been going slower than expected. Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases and deaths all over the country is increasing in spite of efforts to social distance, wear masks and shelter in place. And it will be many more months before most Americans will be able to get vaccinated.
Officials have also warned that the next few weeks, infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths are likely to surge due to holiday traveling and gatherings. California in particular has become an epicenter for the virus even though Governer Newsom instituted stay-at-home orders many weeks ago. “A person now dies every 10 minutes in L.A. County from COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles Public Health Director.