News Brief: Coronavirus vaccine distribution

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“Vaccine on a tray with swabs and a band-aid” by SELF Magazine is licensed with CC BY 2.0

Marisa Del Borrello, Staff Reporter

At the start of the 2020-21 school year, 56 million children went back to virtual school without the hope of a coronavirus vaccine. But at the beginning of the new year, the distribution of a vaccine began. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccine is being distributed to certain groups of people first, such as healthcare workers and essential workers. About 128 million doses have been given in the U.S as of March 23.

 Virginia is currently in phase 1B. As Virginia is distributing vaccines, there has been a vaccine shortage. It was announced on March 1, that Virginia would receive about 69,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines initially. People who are eligible for the vaccine can register through Inova and read up on what to expect from the vaccination process. 

Scientists are trying to determine whether they can double the vaccine supply by cutting the doses in half, which would curb the chance of another shortage in the future when it comes to distributing the vaccine to the general public. 

From the prior 27 potential vaccines that were being tested in human trials, there are now three active vaccines that are being distributed in the U.S after being approved for emergency use authorization: ​​​​Pfizer-BioNTech,  Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen. 

With the distribution of the vaccines, there is an opportunity to eventually gain herd immunity. Herd immunity is when enough people become immune to a disease to slow down the spread of infection amongst the public.

In October 2020, about 20% of Americans  stated that they will not be taking a COVID-19  vaccine. Despite some public hesitancy, the CDC has made it very clear that they are trying to distribute the vaccine as quickly as they can to healthcare workers first, followed by elderly people aged 75 and older. 

In Virginia, vaccines are currently available for frontline essential workers, people aged 65 and older, people aged 16 through 64 who have a high risk medical condition or disability that increases risk of contracting severe COVID-19 illness, and people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps. 

In Loudoun County, vaccines are available at facilities that have partnered with CVS and Walgreens pharmacies. Essential workers will get their vaccines through employer-based vaccinations clinics. 

The COVID-19 vaccine has known side effects, such as localized pain at the injection site, headaches, fevers and chills. 

As of December 2020, 60% of people said that they would, ‘definitely or probably’ receive the vaccine. On the flip side, 39% of people said that they would not be taking the vaccine.