Since the Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine on December 11th and for the Moderna vaccine on December 18th, 9.94 million doses have been administered in the U.S. and 30.5 million worldwide. Many have long awaited the arrival of this vaccine, yet, there’s been a mixed sentiment in the U.S. on whether or not to receive it. While some are rushing in to get the shot, others are significantly concerned about side effects and long-term consequences.
In traditional vaccines, a small sample of dead virus cells is injected, the body recognizes the virus, then produces antibodies. The COVID-19 vaccine works in a slightly different manner. The mRNA, or the protein sequence of the virus, is extracted and injected into the body. The body will respond to the unknown molecule sequence and produce a protein sequence that can fight off the invading molecule.
Both the CDC and the World Health Organization are releasing information about the vaccine, and the CDC keeps a covid-data-tracker which reports the number of cases and administered vaccinations in the U.S. and worldwide. On January 3rd the CDC mentioned in an Instagram post that side effects of the vaccine are normal and should go away in several days. The WHO created a post on December 23rd attempting to convince the public of the vaccine’s benefits. Dr. Anthony Fauci says that in order to reach herd immunity, between 70 to 90 percent of the U.S. population needs to be vaccinated. The virus itself affects all age groups differently, so vaccinations should be administered at different rates.
For anyone who is over the age of 65 or has underlying health conditions, it’s imperative that they get the vaccine as soon as possible. Suffering several days of side effects outweigh the cost of risking your life by contracting the virus. For healthy adults between 30 and 65, it’s still desirable to receive the vaccine soon because they’re at risk for the more severe symptoms of COVID as well as death, but the urgency is not as high for the elderly and the immunocompromised.
The FDA was hesitant to approve the vaccine for those aged 16-25. Most young and healthy individuals tend to be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms if they contract the virus. While the side effects of the vaccine are known, long-term effects are yet to be discovered. Unless required by an academic institution or workplace, it might be beneficial to hold off on receiving the vaccine if you fall within this age group.