Coronavirus vaccines expected to roll out at different paces, Americans unsure of whether or not to get the shot
By: Sidney Mansueto
Since early March 2020, Americans have patiently waited for news to break that was something different than the average record number of Coronavirus patients per capita at a United States hospital.
The announcement of a vaccine was far from near, but Americans never lost hope through the grim spring and anxiety-inducing news coverage. As the virus continued to spread rapidly, scientists raced to find a cure or a vaccine that would be the closest thing to one.
As of December 1, 2020, a coronavirus vaccine is close to distribution. Multiple companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna, currently stand in the lead. The question is, which vaccine will people decide to take- and will they take one at all?
The vaccine is reportedly being offered to frontline workers and the vulnerable upon release. “Vulnerable”, such as the elderly and those living with chronic, underlying health conditions will be some of the first to receive a dose.
The Moderna Coronavirus vaccine has proven through clinical trials to be “94% effective”, while the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine has been approved for usage in the United Kingdom. Distribution in the UK is expected to begin as early as “next week, after the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) granted an emergency use license”, reports The Telegraph. The UK currently has 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Canada health officials have also authorized the Pfizer vaccine, with 249 million doses included in the Canadian shipment, set to roll out a week from December 10th. Some Canadian citizens reportedly want the vaccine to become a mandatory regulation.
In the United States, however, vaccination rollout plans are unclear. While some think it should be a mandatory health precaution, others feel it should be a personal choice. It is uncertain if the states will have a similar or completely individual vaccine distribution plan.
Fox 5 News reports that a New York lawmaker proposed a mandatory vaccine if not enough residents get the vaccine when it becomes available. This could only mean more intense 1984-like control and less free choice of the individual.
“We are 10 months into this crisis, but for the first time, we really can see the end in sight. Why? Because the vaccine is coming next week,” said de Blasio during a City Hall briefing on December 8th, 2020.
De Blasio continued, “The vaccine is coming to New York City because the vaccine is being produced in huge quantities for this city and this country.” Being the hardest hit of the 50 states, it seems like New York only wants to be extra cautious.
Down in Florida, it has not yet been confirmed whether or not the vaccine will be mandated, but in a December 10th briefing, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that healthcare personnel will be the first group to receive it.
“Our top priority is residents of long-term care facilities. They are at the greatest risk,” the Florida governor said. DeSantis added, “a top priority is health care workers who are in high-risk and high-contact environments. And those initial two priorities will be the focus of the 179,000 doses that we have initially received from the federal government.” (Orlando Sentinel)
It is too soon to know how effective the vaccine really is. There are a lot of unknowns, and not much data to tell whether the vaccine is a health risk or not. Some want to get it as a way to get Covid over with and to protect themselves from contracting it.
“I will eventually get it because I want to contribute to this pandemic being over,” said Robert McGlynn, a CSI student. “I probably wouldn’t get it until it is available to the general public, which is June of 2021”, added McGlynn.
Others remain skeptical of the vaccine’s effects and oppose getting the shot. It is easy to grow suspicious of the vaccine’s overall performance because everyone has an immune system that is built differently. It is a frightening thought of how the vaccine can work effectively for some, while it can also be disastrous for others.
“I am not planning on it. There’s just too many risks and uncertainties”, said Alexis Malpeso of Staten Island. “It’s being released too quickly and there is not enough science to prove how well it is going to work. Everyone is different. It might work on one person, but not on the next. There are also many diseases associated with vaccines. I read somewhere about a clinical trial on ferrets that they did, for the SARS 2003 vaccine. The ferrets’ organs swelled up. It’s scary to think of what effects can happen to humans. There are just too many risks”, she said.
The freedom to choose whether or not to get a shot should be up to an individual.
The race for a Coronavirus vaccine is faster than a 5K marathon. The groundbreaking reveal of a final and efficient cure is something Americans patiently await. Overall, vaccine responses are unavailable at the front. Early doses are being given, but it is too soon to know for sure how effective this vaccine is.
Not every immune system is identical, and the vaccine could only do certain things for one’s health. There is no telling it will eradicate the Coronavirus from its existence. Just like paranoia and panic, a vaccine will not solve the Coronavirus pandemic. The vaccine’s availability will only help slow the spread and diminish the virus more than a lockdown ever could.
Before dashing to conclusions, it will approximately take at least six months to determine whether or not society is out of the woods. The virus appeared and transitioned to pandemic status very suddenly, so there is not much evidence that shows it will disappear overnight, once 50% of the population is vaccinated. Even though the vaccine’s availability feels like a miracle, the virus is far from over.