Vaccine Rollout

Fortis Bangalore

Covid-19 has taken over the world and changed our lives completely. It has challenged us and required us to adapt by overcoming adversity swiftly. There seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel when Operation Warp Speed initiated May 15th, 2020 by former President Donald Trump. This executive order paved the way for record time vaccine creation and distribution, along with the accelerated approval by the FDA for a safe vaccine. This also eliminated a lot of red tape and provided funding for private companies to work together to create a record-breaking vaccine. There are multiple approved vaccines today that are being distributed such as the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine requires two separate doses along with Moderna. Pfizer has been proven to be slightly more affective at 95% and Moderna at 94.1%. There are some obstacles that come with these despite how well they are performing. Their shelf life is short with Pfizer at only five days when thawed and Moderna has thirty days. When they are frozen, they are still good for about six months. It is also difficult to find places that can accommodate the specific storage needs. Pfizer needs to be kept at approximately -70 degrees Celsius and Moderna at -20 degrees Celsius.

Johnson and Johnson on the other hand is able to avoid most of these obstacles, but it is only about 66% effective which is a substantial difference in comparison to the opposing two options. Some advantages of Johnson and Johnson is it is much more convenient in multiple ways. You only need one dose instead of two. It doesn’t require the effort to keep it from spoiling and can be kept at a much higher temperature for a lot longer. This option is also much cheaper and with only one dose which might elicit more people to consider being vaccinated. There was some challenges with this vaccine though when about 15 million doses were contaminated and couldn’t be used. Then there was questioning on whether it was causing rare diffuse blood clots. But it was approved again when it was found out the individuals in distress had low platelet levels.  Essential workers were the first to be vaccinated, and we are at the point where even our own SHA students can be vaccinated if they are 16 years old or above. Testing is now being done to see if it’s safe for children under 16 to be vaccinated and there is not yet a finalized vaccine ready for distribution for children under the age of 16.

A huge obstacle is the racial disparity in vaccination rates. For instance, Black Americans are being vaccinated two-three times below White Americans. This is due to the lack of access and mistrust of the vaccine. There has been a lot of community outreach in an effort to get the vaccines to low income and minority neighborhoods. Also, earlier this week Connecticut controversially removed the religious exception for children receiving vaccinations. Every effort is being made to make the vaccine accessible to everyone.

Due to the success of the vaccination rollout, Governor Lemont will be lifting all business restrictions May 19th, 2021 and the outdoor mask mandate. This shows how the vaccine is absolutely improving our quality of life. Wearing masks indoors will still be required. We are now nearing the point where the supply is starting to exceed the demand for the vaccine. A trend is starting to emerge. Almost 30% of the United States population is vaccinated and that number needs to be at least 70% to achieve herd immunity so that there could be some normalcy again. This pandemic will leave a lasting impact on our lives, but we can learn to grow and adapt to new situations which is simply a part of life. We can use this to strengthen us for the future.