Covid-19 Vaccine

Everything you need to know about the vaccines being considered for distribution


Dr. Krejci receiving the Covid-19 vaccine on 12/17/20.

Sophie Krejci, Editor in Chief

With over 14 million people (about twice the population of Arizona) in the United States infected with Covid-19, the global pandemic has been taking a turn for the worse. States across the nation have been going in and out of stay-at-home orders, while countries around the world have also gone back into lockdown. Fortunately, there is an end in sight. Currently, the pharmaceutical companies known as Pfizer and BioNTech, along with Moderna are hoping to get emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so they can begin to distribute their vaccines.  

At the start of the pandemic, the government launched a plan known as Operation Warp Speed. The goal of Operation Warp Speed is “to produce and deliver over 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines, with the initial doses being available in January of 2021” the U.S. Department of Health and Services said. If the present vaccine candidates are approved then the distribution could begin as early as middle-to-end of December, beginning with health care workers and the elderly. However, the public will receive the vaccine early in 2021 rather than late 2020.  

Even still, many Americans are still skeptical of the effectiveness of the vaccine. According to the Pew Research Center, in April of 2020, 72% of American adults said they would get the vaccine. Now those numbers have dropped and only 51% of adults say they would get a vaccine. It is important to note that even if this vaccine is the fastest developed in history, the vaccines still went through all three stages of development. In March, once the pharmaceutical companies had developed their version of the vaccine, they began to test on animals such as mice and monkeys for safety. If safe and effective the companies move into Stage 1: testing on small groups of people to figure out overall safety, and dosage. Stage 2 incorporates a larger number of people, now including all ages and characteristics. Finally, Stage 3 includes a study incorporating thousands of people. Again, both Pfizer and BioNTech, along with Moderna’s vaccine have passed all three stages and are waiting for FDA approval.  

The vaccines developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, and Moderna are known as mRNA vaccines. The vaccines provide the body with genetic code from the virus so messenger RNA can encode the viral proteins. The viral proteins produced are inactive, and do not cause Covid-19. The body still reacts however, and produces an immune response, creating antibodies. “This preview gives the immune system time to design powerful antibodies that can neutralize the real virus if the individual is ever infected” Mishra, a journalist for said. Both vaccines have claimed to be over 90% effective and have usual side effects, such as fever and fatigue. Hopefully, the FDA deems the vaccines safe for usage and changes the current outlook for the pandemic.