Latest Developments in the Covid Vaccine


Michael Anderson, Senior Staff Writer

Throughout most of 2020, COVID-19 has affected our lives in numerous, unexpected ways.  According to Map: Track Coronavirus Deaths Around the World from NBC News, the pandemic has claimed the lives of over 1.4 million people around the world.  In the article, CDC-Convened Panel Votes to Add Nursing Home Residents to First Phase of COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout, Dr. Beth Bell states, “…COVID-19 is killing Americans at a rate of one per minute….”  The number of cases is expected to rise as we enter the winter months.  The closing of schools and businesses, and the upending of our daily routines has many wanting an alleviation of the suffering.  Could a vaccine provide a solution to the issue?

A vaccine would help your immune system develop antibodies for the Covid-19 virus, minimizing or eliminating any symptoms if you became infected, because the body would be able to fight off the virus almost immediately.  If you did not have the vaccine, it could take one to two weeks before your body could develop antibodies to fight an infection.  Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company, and Moderna, a biotech company, have both demonstrated roughly a 95% success rate of their COVID-19 vaccine, each requiring a booster shot about three weeks after the initial vaccination.  The Food and Drug Administration may issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Pfizer in about two weeks and Moderna a week later, allowing the distribution of the vaccines to the public.

During the trials, a small percentage of the volunteers of both vaccines had mild to moderate side effects such as fever, chills, muscle aches, and headaches.  Some individuals in the trial even had to take a day or two off work because of the flu-like symptoms.  Similar to a flu shot, it is speculated that the vaccine will only last about 10-12 months.  There is concern that the side effects may discourage individuals from receiving their booster, which may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine.  The big question you might be asking yourself: Is the vaccine safe?  The “warp speed” in which the vaccine was created has some speculating if it is safe.  According to Dr. Fauci, “The process of the speed did not compromise at all safety nor did it compromise scientific integrity.”  Another concern is the sensitive storage and handling requirement of the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.  If not handled properly, the integrity of the vaccine may be compromised.  With all this in mind, would you get the COVID-19 vaccine?  The most recent Gallup poll, taken in November stated, “that 58% of Americans say they would get a Covid-19 vaccine….”

So how do students at HHS feel about the vaccine?  Three members of our student body were asked if they felt the vaccine was safe and whether or not they would get it when it becomes available.  Maggie Lewis, a senior ready for a return to normalcy, said, “I’m more than willing to get the vaccine if it means the US will open up again.”  Kennedy Evans, a junior, is more skeptical.  “I do not believe I will be getting the vaccine right away; it was rushed and I would like to see how it affects people before I decide to take it,” she said.  Sam Wirtz, also a junior, said, “I am cautiously optimistic about this vaccine.  I believe that it works as well as they say, but I’m concerned that there may be long-term side effects that we don’t yet know about.”

They have some time to decide.  Fortunately, at this point, the general population is not required to receive the vaccine. However, healthcare workers may be required to get the vaccine.  In addition, employers may require that their employees be immunized.  About 40 million doses will be available by the end of the year, which equates to 20 million Americans receiving an initial dose followed up by a booster.  According to, CDC Advisers Call for 1st COVID-19 Vaccines to go to Health Care Workers, Long-Term Care Facilities from ABC News, “A group of independent experts voted Tuesday that health care personnel treating patients — as well as workers and residents in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities — should get the first shots of a COVID-19 vaccine when one is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.”  Dr. Fauci predicts that all Americans will have the opportunity to get a vaccine by July.  Even with the vaccine, you should still continue to wear a mask until it is deemed safe.


All information is current as of December 1, 2020.