Paige Fanneron, News Editor
Since March, the world has been desperately searching for a vaccine to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak. Finally, the vaccine is here. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have started to be shipped out to all 50 states in the U.S. The first shipment took off carrying about 2.9 million doses, and was set to land at designated distribution locations, including hospitals. The first vaccines were given out on Monday, Dec. 14, and are supposed to be given out to health care workers at a high risk of contracting COVID-19, as well as nursing homes, first. FedEx and UPS are the main transportation companies trusted with moving the vaccine, a process made more difficult because, according to time.com, the Pfizer vaccine must be kept at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit. To combat this, the vaccine is being transported with special boxes that have dry ice in them, which can only be opened two times a day in order to keep the deep freeze. The distribution of the vaccine in the U.S. is much less centralized than in other countries. According to the New York Times, some states are dealing with limited funding, leading to potential problems with coordinating and staffing vaccine administration, as well as difficulties with maintaining databases on who has or needs either the initial vaccine or the booster that is administered either three or four weeks after the initial vaccination, depending on the type of vaccine.
The first dosage of the vaccine has officially been dispensed in the United States, and was given to Sandra Lindsay, a nurse at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens. One hundred-forty five sites received the vaccine on Monday, Dec. 14, followed by 425 on Tuesday Dec. 15, and 66 on Wednesday Dec. 16. Most of the shots that were being given out on Dec. 14 were given to healthcare workers at a high risk of contracting COVID-19, followed by nursing home residents who have had an excessive amount of exposure to COVID-19 or deaths because of COVID-19 in their nursing homes. However, due to the vaccine’s high demand, it is being shipped in groups, which means that only a certain number of people will be able to receive the vaccine at this time. Most people will have to wait on the vaccine until spring.
The vaccine has also been shown to have some side effects, including pain, swelling or redness at the site of injection, fatigue, headache, chills and muscle and joint pain. However, some of the vaccines’ side effects are much more serious in people who have severe allergies, and health officials recommend that people with these allergies bring their epipens to vaccine sites. They are also recommending that there be people on site who have the ability to resuscitate.
The COVID-19 vaccine will go down in history as one of the fastest vaccines ever developed. Although many still have to wait to receive their vaccine, it is finally here.
Designed by: Leo Preston