Nearly a year since it began, the end is finally in sight. Through 10 months of COVID-19 testing, the most effective vaccines, produced by Pfizer and Moderna, have arrived in the United States, equaling 30.6 million doses in total.
There are many locations in Harford County, Maryland that are being administered the vaccine as well. Since the shipment on December 23, approximately 9,300 people and counting have been vaccinated (baltimoresun.com). President Joe Biden has promised immunizations to 100 million people within the first 100 days of his presidency. However, Larry Hogan, Governor of Maryland, has noted that not everyone will be able to be given the shot immediately.
In fact, up until January 18, the only people serviced were health care workers and first responders, which was known as phase 1A. However, since that Monday, the state has been in phase 1B, meaning that it is now open to people age 75 and older, those in assisted living, and even K-12 educators.
Teachers will be vaccinated first, but it is also very likely that in order for students and staff to participate and go to public school, they must have been given the shot. Locations such as Bel Air High School have taken the initiative and will open their doors starting on February 8 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. for staff to be given their doses.
Through this process, there has been a lot of debate on whether or not the vaccine will be safe and effective. Medically, Pfizer is 95% effective and Moderna is 94.1%. Both require two trips to the clinic, one for the initial shot and another about three weeks to a month later for a “booster”. However, there is concern with new strains of Coronavirus being immune to the advancements made so far.
North Harford Foreign Language teacher Mary Capellan addresses her concerns with the issue, however, she says “I am hopeful that the vaccine protects against the new strains that are emerging and that the scientists are correct about its safety.”
Like Capellan mentioned, scientists are working nonstop to ensure the safety of the people by constantly testing against new strains. So far, even though increasingly contagious mutations are evolving, both Pfizer and Moderna are still safe. The best way to prevent any further dangers is to get people vaccinated quickly to stop the spread of the virus.
It will not be until phase 3, the final step, that the general population will be vaccinated. as already madeJunior Student Elle Saulsbury h up her mind about the vaccine, even though her dose will not be administered likely until spring or even summer of 2021. “I believe it’s safe,” she states, “I know many people, including my mom, who have been given the vaccine and are completely fine.”
Those who meet the current qualifications can get doses of the vaccine at most health centers, including Giant Foods, Walmart, and CVS. Once there is enough supply, local clinics can been found on vaccinefinder.org, which is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).