COVID-19 vaccines are on the way

Pfizer, Moderna began nationwide distribution of their vaccines this week

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Courtesy of Jacob King from The New York Times

Ninety year old Margaret Keenan is the first person in Britain to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Andrew Sousa, Sports Editor

The last nine months have been rough, but the end might be insight.

Big Pharma companies Pfizer and Moderna have begun distribution of their COVID-19 vaccines, signaling the beginning of stomping this virus that has spread across the world.

Tests of the Pfizer vaccine have shown to be 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19, while Moderna’s has shown to be 94 percent effective.

In California, 627,000 COVID-19 vaccines have been prepared for distribution by mid-December. Hospital workers and those who are high risk will be the first to receive the vaccine, governor Gavin Newsom announced.

“I have confidence that what will be put out will be safe and effective,” Principles of Biomedical teacher Joana Condon said.

Currently, a topic of discussion has been about which vaccine will be better, Pfizer’s or Moderna’s. While Pfizer’s vaccine has shown to be slightly more effective than Moderna’s, Pfizer’s vaccine has to be kept at sub 40 degree Fahrenheit temperatures, requiring special freezers to be sent to hospitals and centers to preserve the vaccine. Conversely, Moderna’s vaccine can be kept in warmer temperatures. One popular theory is that urban areas will receive the Pfizer vaccine, while more rural areas will receive the Moderna vaccine.

Vaccines would likely be available in hospitals, but there is also the possibility that your local pharmacy would be able to have them as well, given that they can obtain the freezers needed to hold the vaccines.

While the vaccine is ready for distribution, many are skeptical about taking a vaccine that 

has gone through the approval process faster than any vaccine in history. The political stimulus around COVID-19 and a possible vaccine has many worried that the vaccine was rushed, and will cause more harm to the body than good.

Additionally, the process for vaccine production and distribution may be impacted drastically come January, when President Donald Trump will leave the White House and president-elect Joe Biden will step in, taking the lead for the COVID-19 situation. 

The cost of a vaccine is a deep concern for many families. Fortunately, President Trump and President-elect Biden have both been pushing for the vaccine to be free.

Some students and teachers, however, feel comfortable with taking the vaccine right out of the gates, as long as it passes the Federal Drug Association’s regulations. In fact, some students are willing to take the vaccine right when it comes out, feeling that it’s a necessity for their lives.

“I am willing to take it right away,” senior Jeremy Covento said. “I want to feel safe when I go outside, so I don’t pass it to my mom and dad because I go outside almost every day.”

For Cal teachers, some are hoping that if a vaccine would be ready for students to take during the year, they would be able to see more return to campus and participate in hybrid learning. 

Currently, fewer than 25 percent of high school and middle school students are planning to try hybrid learning, according to figures provided at Tuesday night’s San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education meeting. At Cal High, slightly more than 500 students are returning to campus for remote learning for the second semester.

“Once they have a vaccination, I would be excited to have more students come back,” said Condon, who has requested to stay remote for the second semester.

Even if a vaccine is available for teachers and students during the school year, many school events such as ball, prom and traditional graduation ceremonies are unlikely to take place.

“Some events like senior graduation are really hard to have equity, where only half of the students are invited,” Condon said.