COVID-19 Vaccines Are Finally Here
After over a year of living in quarantine and with the coronavirus plaguing our country, the world is now experiencing tremendous, positive outcomes with the two COVID-19 Vaccines finally being made available to the public.
The vaccine’s availability has recently been expanded from only including seniors to now including all teenagers and 12-15-year-olds. With all different ages being able to get the vaccine, we may slowly be able to return to our normal lives and visit our friends and loved ones without the fear of contracting a potentially life-threatening disease. As FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock puts it, “Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic.”
Today, over 274 million vaccines have been given to the public, and over 123 million people are fully vaccinated. Clinical trials of the vaccine in the United States have shown the efficacy of 94%-95% in preventing COVID-19 associated illnesses.
The Process Behind Getting A Vaccine
Getting vaccinated is very simple. All you need to do is create an appointment with the nearest hospital or pharmacy and arrange a time to get the vaccine. Note that you will have to make two appointments for two different shots for the vaccine to work and guarantee full protection from the disease. You can choose to either get the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech dose. Both vaccines are equally effective in preventing COVID-19 related diseases and only differ in the time between each shot: people receive the second Pfizer shot after 21 days, and people receive the second Moderna shot after 28 days. After receiving your shot, you are required to wait 15 minutes and report any severe side effects.
Common side effects of the vaccine may include pain, redness, or swelling on the arm where the shot was taken and fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, nausea, or fevers throughout the body. These effects, however, were more common after the second shot.
Upon receiving the second dose, you are required to bring your vaccination card given to you during your first appointment so your provider can fill in the information on the second dose. It is important to keep this card as some places may require you to show it if you are not wearing a mask.
People are considered fully vaccinated after 2 full weeks of having the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna shot. After these 2 weeks, you will be able to start doing all the things that you were previously unable to do due to COVID-19.
How the Vaccine Works
SARS-COV-2 is the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It is considered a spike protein because it allows an RNA strand to enter and reproduce in the body and kill healthy cells. However, because our body has never encountered COVID-19 before, it may take a long time before the immune system can create and use germ-fighting antibodies to remove the infection. The time it takes for the immune system to generate these antibodies may be life-threatening for people, as the disease may spread throughout the body and be impossible to contain and kill, leading to severe illness or death.
This is where the vaccine comes in. The vaccine contains messenger RNA made from spike proteins that enter your cells and produces a protein that essentially teaches your immune system to recognize the virus and understand how to create antibodies to prevent that virus from being life-threatening. The vaccine will equip the immune system with the proper knowledge to fight against future infections that may be caused by the virus, ultimately leading to safer lives.
The Benefits Behind Getting the Vaccine
While it may seem obvious as to why everyone should get the vaccine, some may feel that it is unnecessary and untrustworthy.
The main skepticism behind the COVID-19 vaccines involves their effectiveness and safety. However, all vaccines available have been proven safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 by the CDC, and all vaccines being developed are thoroughly evaluated in clinical trials and authorized only if they ensure that they will make it less likely for someone to contract the virus. Routine processes and procedures are constantly in effect to ensure the safety of any vaccine that is authorized and released.
The main benefit of getting the vaccine is that it will keep you and those around you safe. By receiving the vaccine, there will be no possible way for you to contract the virus, automatically removing the possibility of having to quarantine for 2 weeks and of having to experience all the serious, life-threatening side effects of the disease. Furthermore, you will reduce the chances of your family members having it as there will be one less person who might contract the virus and spread it to them. According to a large amount of research compiled by the CDC, fully vaccinated people are less likely to be infected with the disease and less likely to spread the disease to others.
Another major benefit of receiving the vaccine is that you will be able to start doing things that were unavailable to you because of the pandemic. By getting vaccinated, you will be able to visit and spend more in-person time with your friends and elderly family members without fear of contracting or spreading the virus to them. You will also be able to travel to places outside of the state again and visit public areas that were once closed down because of the epidemic. The COVID-19 vaccinations not only allow you to leave the house more frequently but also allows you to truly enjoy the joys and wonders of the outside world without any fear or worry.
Where Do I Go If I Want To Schedule My Vaccine?
The best place to schedule a Covid-19 vaccination is by going to myturn.gov. You can also now go into any CVS or Rite Aid that carries the vaccine.