With several COVID-19 vaccines officially on the market, people are understandably anxious to get immunized and see things go back to normal as soon as possible Here’s what you need to know about the vaccine, and when you might be able to get yours.
So, the vaccine’s been released. When can I got to the hospital, get immunized, and get on with my life?
I know you’re sick of hearing this, but it’s not going to be that simple for a while.
Ugh, OK, start with the good news.
The good news is there are currently two vaccines officially approved by the FDA listed on the CDC’s website, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. There are others in various stages of clinical trials still, but these will be the main two you hear about as innoculations are rolled out across the country.
Is there any real difference between the two?
Realistically, it won’t matter a great deal which one you’re given. Both have very similar, very high efficacy rates (around 94-95 percent). And both require you to take two shots. For the Pfizer vaccine, the time between the shots you’re given is 21 days. For the Moderna vaccine, it’s 28 days. So don’t go around licking lampposts the moment you leave the clinic: there’s still some waiting to be done.
But that’s it?
Basically, as long as you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients in either vaccine (You can find the ingredients list for the Pfizer vaccine here, and the Moderna vaccine here.
Who’s getting the vaccine first?
The CDC is planning on distributing the vaccine in four phases. We are currently in phase 1, which has three subgroubs:
1a. Healthcare workers, the ones we were clapping and banging our pots and pans for at 7pm every night in the Spring.
1b. Essential workers. That’s broadly teachers, cops, firefighters, transportation workers, and utility workers.
1c. People over 65 and people with underlying conditions (here’s a handy list of most of the conditions that would be taken into consideration).
And what about the next three phases?
There are no official plans yet. These are still very early days. Though it’s likely it will shake out something line this:
Phase 2: Teachers, education workers, food workers.
Phase 3: Everyone not included in the above groups with priority given to students, hospitality workers, factory workers, and some other industries we’ll have to wait and see about.
Phase 4: Everyone else.
So, level with me: Let’s say hypothetically I’m a healthy young adult with a job I can work from home. When can I go touch my face in a dive bar bathroom again?
It will still be a while. Anthony Fauci anticipates the vaccine being widely available to anyone who wants it by early to mid-summer. But has warned it’ll take several months after that for enough herd immunity to be built up for the normal openings of things like schools, restaurants, and movie theaters.
And that’s if everything goes smoothly to plan.
Exactly. I’ll give you a moment to tug on your collar nervously.
With more people being vaccinated every day, do I still have to wear a mask?
Dear God, yes.