The Science Behind the Vaccines
There must be a few questions whizzing around your head about now, if not many.
If one of them is “What will the vaccine feel like?”, or “When can I get it?”, you have arrived at the right place. In this comprehensive article you will be informed about the science behind those injections, the rate they will be distributed, and so much more. By the end of this, you can be sure that you are informed and ready about this topic. Let’s dive in!
Some Healthcare Workers Refuse the Vaccine. Why?
The vaccine is probably what every healthcare worker wants. Why wouldn’t they? But per Los Angeles Times, every one in four healthcare workers is refusing the vaccine in LA. In Riverside, situated nearby LA, every other healthcare worker is refusing the vaccine! But that brings up the question, why? Why are so many healthcare workers on the front lines not taking the vaccine, knowing that they are risking the lives of themselves and their patients? Let’s look into the facts.
All scientific evidence proves that the vaccine is safe to use. Not only that, but tens of thousands of trials have been done, on elderly citizens and people with chronic health conditions alike. Unless the patient has any severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients, they are encouraged to take it.
But some, including doctors and nurses, are still not convinced.
A survey carried out recently by Kaiser Family Foundation discovered that a whopping 29% of their workers were “vaccine-hesitant”. That is higher than the hesitation rate of the general population, which is at 27%.
“Even the name, Operation Warp Speed, draws some concern for people about the rush to push it through,” reported Dr. Medell Briggs-Malonson, an emergency medicine physician at UCLA Health. She had taken the vaccine earlier and was insisting on her colleagues to do the same.
But it is not only the name that makes everyone hesitant to take the vaccine. It seems like politics had a prime role in that also.
“They’re scared of the side effects, they don’t know what is going to happen or if it will protect them,” said a licensed vocational nurse at a Los Angeles nursing home, “It has become so political.”
The uncertainty shared among staff inside nursing homes account for roughly 35% of the more than 200,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.
So why were all these healthcare workers being so skeptical about this vaccine? It seems there is only one main reason. There is a severe lack of trust in the federal government, especially with what has happened in recent times. More trust in the national administration could have greatly contributed to lowering the deaths of COVID-19 by as much as 35%.
How do the COVID-19 Vaccines Work?
In a nutshell, there are three types of vaccines. Messenger RNA, Adenovirus, and inactivated coronavirus vaccines. But what is the difference between each vaccine? Why are there so many different types? Which is the best? These are questions that will be answered in this section.
According to the CDC, mRNA vaccines are new, but not an unknown type of vaccine, and has been scrutinized and studied for over a decade. mRNA vaccines have been rigorously tested before being approved in the United States.
mRNA vaccines have some benefits, surely. They don’t have an infectious element, and they can have shorter manufacturing times. mRNA vaccines can be developed with material that is already available. In the future, mRNA vaccines may be able to target multiple diseases.
But because this technology is still being studied, there may still be a few small unknown defects
“Adenoviruses are non-enveloped, double-stranded DNA viruses,” writes Dr. Sanchari Sinha Dutta in a research paper.”Adenovirus-based vaccines are prepared by inserting a transgene cassette into the adenoviral backbone through direct cloning or homologous recombination.”
In English, that means that vaccines using that technology target cells and start cloning harmless versions of themselves, triggering a strong immune response. Although it is amazing for creating a strong immune system response, it can be risky as some errors in the copying code of the virus may make it “alive”.
Inactivated Coronavirus Vaccines
Inactivated Coronavirus Vaccines, as you would probably know, are coronavirus “cells” that are either weakened or inactivated. They are the cheapest kind of vaccine and can be easily mass-produced.
As thehealthsite.com reports, “Inactivated vaccines cannot replicate themselves, but still trigger an immune system response…” Although it may seem like a good idea for everyone to adopt this way of eradicating COVID-19, it may create an excessively weak response by the immune system to create an army of anti-COVID-19 cells. Think of the weak response like a little skirmish between two countries, and a strong response like a war.
Why so Many?
Why are there multiple vaccine types? That is one question that countless people have asked scientists, doctors, and the government alike. The reason why there are so many vaccine types is that people are different. One person may need this, and another, that.
For instance, someone may have a compromised immune system, so maybe the Adenovirus vaccine may not be the best for them. The safer but weaker Inactivated Coronavirus Vaccines could be a life-saver. If you are in immediate need of the vaccine or just have a tougher immune system, then the greater effect of the Adenovirus may do you good.
What is the Best Vaccine Type?
What is the best vaccine type? The answer to that is very simple. There is no best type of vaccine. Like what was written before, different people need different treatments.
What about the other one, mRNA vaccines? Those must be the ones for all, right? Actually, no. They may be soon, but as they are new, there is no definite answer. That is one purpose why there are doctors, to tell you which is best. There is no one answer.
How Often Do You Need to Take the Vaccine?
Well, after all of this you may still have the question, “How often do I need to take the vaccine if I need to take it multiple times?”
First things first, you may need to take the vaccine multiple times, as the click2annarbor reports. They say both the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have an efficacy rate of about 95%. It is not perfect and is for emergency use only. It will also lose efficacy over time and will need to be taken again.
But they don’t mention how often you need to take it. Is there an answer to that? Let us see the next source.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention states that they did not study how long vaccine-induced immunity lasts fully yet. So until further notice what you do know is that you may need to take the vaccine multiple times, but there is no definite answer to how frequently you need to take it.
Some Feedback on the COVID-19 Vaccine
As you know, some people have already gotten injected with the golden serum that allows you to go outside again, the COVID-19 vaccine. After reading till now you may have a good perception of what people felt about this vaccine. But until now in this article, we haven’t had anyone who got the vaccine sharing their feedback. Let’s look at a doctor who took the vaccine but doesn’t have any second thoughts.
“The side effects of the vaccine and the first dose are generally mild,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, a practicing emergency physician said in a discussion. “As with the typical kind of side effects you get when you get a flu shot or any other of the shots that you get, you get a little bit of an ache in the arm, which I got it and that’s about it.”
Specifically, the only side effect that Dr. Fauci noticed on himself after getting injected with the vaccine was a mild soreness on his arm. But he’s not the only one injected. Therefore, that may not be the only side effect.
A small group of receivers reported severe allergic reactions. That being said, every single one of that small group had a history of severe allergic reactions.
Something rather alarming is that the CDC, who before said that no allergic reactions can be caused, issued out a warning. They stated that anyone prone to anaphylactic reactions should refrain from getting the vaccine.
They also wrote that other common ailments may be headaches, fever, and fatigue. Symptoms may be more severe through second doses and tend to be more prevalent in younger people than older people.
The Role Governments are Playing in the Distribution
Why is the COVID-19 Vaccine Taking Longer to Distribute than Planned?
If all these vaccines are rolling out, why aren’t some countries distributing them quicker? Let’s see…
The U.S. Department of Defense’s HSS Secretary Alex M. Azar II, U.S. Army’s Gen. Gus F. Perna, and scientist Dr. Slaoui spoke about the government’s plans in a press conference on Dec. 14.
Mr. Azar talked about the Pfizer vaccines being approved. “2.1 million vaccines are being issued right now.”
Gen. Perna stated how the 48,000 + people the vaccine was trialed on were vaccinated already. “ Those heroes are now vaccinated… I would like to thank them…”
But an ever so slightly interrupted Dr. Slaoui stated something rather worrisome. “ the order of the 100 million Moderna vaccines may be ready to be distributed, though it is not proven they will be safe.”
Although, to be honest, the 100 million Moderna vaccines are almost ready now. That video from the Department of Defense wasn’t too long ago. That shows that America is speeding up, though…
According to the New York Times, holiday staffing has resulted in a huge delay of distribution in Puerto Rico, and American territory in the Caribbean. Jan. 2’s vaccine shipments did not arrive on time at the territory, due to the people who were supposed to administer them gone for the winter holidays.
Yes, lots of vaccines have arrived, but the distribution pace is very slow. Even as seniors are sitting in chairs all day and night waiting to get injected, not many are getting it swiftly.
Gov. Officials set a goal of 20 million Americans being vaccinated by the end of the year, and 14 million vaccines have been distributed. But just 2.8 million people have received a dose. The state governments are varying. South Dakota is in the lead with 48%, but Kansas is falling behind with only a mere 11%.
The U.S. government is starting to pick up the pace now, with more and more vaccines being approved by the FDA’s rigorous standards, and America could be vaccinated very soon if the state governments collaborate. If the states like South Dakota help the process with the states like Kansas, America could be vaccinated soon. Very soon.
All the Phases of the Distribution of the COVID-19 Vaccine
Health care Personnel
All healthcare workers will receive the vaccine first. They are on the front lines and are constantly exposed to the virus. These include but are not limited to Doctors, Nurses, Medical School Students, Residents, and other volunteer healthcare workers.
Long-Term Care Facility Residents
The next-in-line to the vaccine are residents of care facilities. They are people who are not able to live independently and will get the vaccine immediately after the healthcare workers get it.
EMS personnel are at risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus every day. They are a significant priority and will be right after care facility residents. These people include but are not limited to medical emergencies such as emergency medical technicians, police, and fire workers.
The rest of the stages have not been announced yet at the time this article was written.
How are Other Countries Coping with the Vaccine Rollout?
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
As CNN writes, Britain is looking at a drawn-out, dreadful winter. A new contagious strain of the virus has placed tremendous pressure on hospitals all around the UK as record numbers of patients are checked in.
“It’s not hyperbole to say that the [National Health Service] is going through probably the toughest time in living memory,″ stated Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at the King’s Fund, a British group that focuses on health and social care. “I was speaking to an emergency care physician from London last week, and she was saying that half of her shift was spent delivering care in ambulances because they couldn’t get the patients into the emergency department.″
Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the U.K. reported that the new lockdown (third in the U.K.) will not be reviewed for lift until at least mid-February. Government officials hope that by then, the ambitious plan of 13 million COVID-19 vaccines will be addressed.
The Republic of India
With more than 10 million cases of COVID-19, India is the second-hardest hit country, tarrying only the United States. It knows it’s in a crisis; And has a plan to come on top thriving.
The ardent and comprehensive “mega-plan” to vaccinate more than 300 MILLION people in India had already started, and its results are already zooming past so many other countries. To put that into perspective, that is similar to vaccinating ALL Americans against this deadly virus.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has classified 300 million people to obtain the first doses of the vaccines. The precluded group is made up of 30 million health care workers and government officials and 270 million seniors and people with health issues.
BBC publishes that India may have disadvantages along the road. First, its citizens don’t have complete trust in the government, much like in the U.S., and convincing that many people to get vaccinated will be an arduous task. Also, though the government has a plan, despite the toll the virus has taken on the people of India, there is not much support. Combining both reasons will prove to be a difficult obstacle for the Republic of India.
Though the BBC also publishes, India also has many advantages. As it is known to be a vaccine-churning machine globally, its mass production lines can spew out safe and effective coronavirus vaccines developed mainly domestically. Not only that, but it is way faster and cheaper than most other countries.
How are Some Companies Doing with the Vaccines?
“D-Day was a pivotal turning point in World War II. It was the beginning of the end,” said Gen. Perna, who was written about earlier in this article. “And that’s where we are [with the vaccines] today.”
All that said, as USA Today talks about, the vaccines are being developed and delivered quickly as a whole, but it covers the finer details. What about three major companies involved in the development and shipment of the vaccine? How are they doing?
The Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine delivered to 145 hospitals across all 50 states, was finally approved by the FDA. Shipped in pizza-box-size cardboard boxes holding 195 vials a pop, five doses a vial, five of the 80-pound boxes were stacked into an insulated foam cube, topped with 50 pounds of dry ice; No kidding!
As the 145 kits containing the insulated cube, syringes, alcohol wipes, and reminder cards for second doses were sent out to the hospitals, more than 500 kits were already being packed for a total of 636 locations. Stored at -94 degrees celsius, these vaccines are super-sensitive and will be mainly found in large hospitals with the right equipment and storage facilities.
“The potential game changer” as Johnson&Johnson like to call it, the new one-dose vaccines may save millions of lives if it is approved by the FDA by February.
“They were obviously getting a lot more COVID cases than they were projecting initially so they didn’t think they needed to enroll 60,000; they only needed to enroll 40,000,” explained Dr. Frank Rhame, site principal of the trial as well as an infectious-disease physician.
The trial included 43,000 volunteers. Dr. Rhame stated that the experiment would result in a fully operational one-dose vaccine projected to December of 2022. Almost two years at the publishing of this article.
This article is meant to give the reader a full understanding of the science behind the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as the role the government played. For the past two weeks, I have been scrutinizing and analyzing every bit of reliable information that I could find. Thank you for reading this article, and stay tuned for next week!
- https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-12-31/healthcare-workers-refuse-covid-19-vaccine-access — Healthcare workers refuse the vaccine
- https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/hcp/mrna-vaccine-basics.html — mRNA vaccines
- https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Adenovirus-Based-Vaccines.aspx — adenovirus vaccines
- https://www.thehealthsite.com/news/all-covid-19-vaccines-are-not-the-same-know-the-facts-about-the-ones-that-are-ready-for-rollout-789478/ — coronavirus vaccines
- https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2021/01/05/ask-2-does-the-covid-19-vaccine-lose-its-effectiveness-over-time-and-will-it-need-to-be-taken-annually-like-the-flu-shot/ — Will the vaccine lose its effectiveness over time, and need to be taken annually?
- WHO experts on the COVID-19 vaccine dose interval
- https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/dr-fauci-discusses-the-only-side-effect-he-felt-from-his-coronavirus-vaccine/ar-BB1cIA5Y — doctor on how the vaccine feels like
- https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/covid-19-vaccine/news/20201214/closer-look-at-three-covid-19-vaccines — Difference between three COVID — 19 vaccines
- https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/28/us/vaccine-first-patients-covid.html — How the vaccines feel like according to patients
- The COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan in Vermont — Vermont’s plan on distributing the vaccines
- Why Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution is Taking Longer Than Expected — Why are the COVID-19 vaccines taking longer to distribute than planned?
- https://kutv.com/news/local/phases-of-covid-19-vaccine-distribution-and-how-you-can-access-it — Phases of the vaccine distribution
- https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/01/05/covid-19-vaccine-distribution-these-5-states-most-behind/4142478001/ — States that are behind on vaccine distribution
- https://www.defense.gov/Explore/News/Article/Article/2445641/officials-provide-update-on-covid-19-vaccine-distribution/ — Update on vaccine distribution
- https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-vaccine-fda-united-kingdom-pfizer-dose-timing-significant-risk-public-health/ — FDA warning the UK about their vaccine distribution plan
- https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/10/health/uk-covid-vaccine-reaction-callout-gbr-intl/index.html — UK residents respond to mass vaccine rollout
- https://apnews.com/article/pandemics-england-coronavirus-pandemic-nicola-sturgeon-london-89bccc582c028501d6dcf46c612d7afc — UK hospitals stagger as the virus takes a huge toll
- https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/06/high-street-pharmacies-to-start-offering-oxford-covid-vaccine-next-week — UK’s plan to vaccinate 13 million vulnerable people by mid-February
- https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-55520658 — India approves vaccines
- https://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2021/01/05/india-vaccine-rollouts-emergency-use-approval-sud-pkg-vpx.cnn — India vaccine plan
- https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/18/asia/india-coronavirus-vaccine-intl-hnk/index.html — How India plans to vaccinate 300M people
- https://www.vox.com/22213311/india-coronavirus-vaccine-covaxin-astrazeneca-approval — India plans to vaccinate 300M people
- https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/12/12/covid-vaccine-distribution-first-pfizer-shipments-arrive-monday/6521379002/ — Pfizer vaccine shipments
- https://www.kare11.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/when-could-we-see-johnson-johnsons-single-dose-vaccine/89-f7a45ed5-0e3d-45ca-8a07-3b5542feef0c — Johnson & Johnson vaccine update\