COVID-19 vaccine on the brink of public release

Students, school nurse weigh in on developments

A person being vaccinated. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

A person being vaccinated. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

After almost a year of companies racing to get an effective vaccine as fast as possible, one has proven most successful.

Showing a promising 95 percent effectiveness, Pfizer’s vaccine, made with German company BioNTech, has already been approved in the United Kingdom and is being distributed. It is expected to be approved in the United States as early as next week.

Called “Operation Warp Speed,” the other companies will continue working to get their vaccines to the same level as Pfizer, following the United States’ decision to not put all their eggs in one basket.

The first round of U.S. vaccines are already purchased and in the waiting phase with 100 million coming from each of the six American companies. When distribution starts, healthcare personnel and people 80 and older will be top priorities, but every adult in the United States should be able to get one in 2021. 

Herd immunity is very important to the recovery from this pandemic.

“Getting a vaccine not only protects you, but it protects the most vulnerable in our community,” said Nurse Kline. “We need enough people to get the vaccine to provide herd immunity.”

It is unclear how many people will be willing to receive the vaccine out of concern for a vaccine developed so quickly. 

“Some people are worried about how fast the vaccines were created,” said Nurse Kline, “but the research and development of this genetic coding type of vaccine has been in existence for several years and they just needed to find the best genetic material from the COVID virus that wouldn’t change and mutate over time.”

As of right now, the vaccine will not be required for school, but this could change in the future once there is more certainty in the vaccine. 

“At this time, the Covid-19 vaccine would not be required at school,” said Nurse Kline. “The state of Indiana decides which vaccines are mandatory for grades K-12.”

Although they will not be required, enough families need to be on board with getting vaccinated for it to eliminate the virus. At this point in time, it is unclear if this will need to be an annual vaccine, like the flu. 

“My family will get the vaccine because we don’t want to put my grandparents or others at risk,” said Junior Ashlyn Rinehart.

Breaking the stigma over the vaccine and getting people to trust it will not be an easy task, but hopefully time will help as the first people start receiving the vaccine.

“My family has always been very diligent about receiving vaccinations when they are recommended,” said Junior Bre Ward. “I have faith in the American pharmaceutical corporations’ review processes.”