The COVID-19 VACCINE

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According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the COVID-19 vaccines are a new type of vaccine that contains messenger RNA.  This teaches our cells to make a protein, that triggers an immune response and produces antibodies to protect against the coronavirus.

The Covid-19 vaccines are not egg-based, so they should be safe for those with egg allergies.

In January 2020, as the World Health Organization was holding its first emergency meeting on a dangerous new virus, researchers in China had already published the virus’s genetic sequence.  This provided the underlying code for a virus with a signature spike protein on its surface.  This information helped researchers to develop a vaccine faster.

Moderna and Pfizer and all these other vaccine manufacturers started adapting that spike protein sequence to their particular vaccine technology.

COVID-19 closely resembles other coronaviruses like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)  and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) coronavirus that researchers and vaccine makers have developed vaccines for.

All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19.

WHO CAN GET THE COVID VACCINATION FIRST

On December 1, 2020, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended the following phases for who should be offered the CoVID-19 vaccine first.

Phase 1a health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities can receive the  COVID-19 vaccinations.

Phase 1b non-healthcare essential workers and persons over 75 years can receive the vaccine.  

Phase 1c persons aged 65 to 74 years, and people with high-risk medical conditions aged 16 to 74 that increase the risk for severe COVID and essential workers not recommended for vaccination in phase 1a or 1b.

Phase 2 all persons aged 16 years not previously recommended for vaccination.

WHERE YOU CAN GET THE VACCINE

Currently, there is a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines.  Once the vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering the vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.

SIDE EFFECTS OF THE VACCINE

You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection.  The side effects may feel like the flu and may limit your ability to do daily activities but should go away in a few days.

Common side effects are pain and swelling on the arm where you got the shot.  To reduce pain and discomfort apply a cool, wet washcloth over the areas and exercise your arm.   

Other side effects throughout your body are fever, chills, tiredness, and headache.  To reduce discomfort from fever drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly.

Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if the redness and tenderness increase after 24 hours or if the side effects don’t go away after a few days.

Cost of the vaccine doses purchased with U. S. taxpayers dollars will be given at no cost, however, vaccination providers may charge administration fees for giving the shot.

COVID-19 VARIANTS GLOBALLY

Viruses generally acquire mutations over time, giving rise to new variants. 

In the United Kingdom (UK) a new variant strain of COVID-19 has emerged and has been detected in other countries including the U.S.  It is not considered more severe or deadly than the original virus but is 70% more contagious.  

In South Africa, another variant has emerged and has been detected outside of South Africa.  Also in Nigeria, another distinct variant strain of COVID-19 has emerged.

Scientists are working to learn more about the new variants of COVID-19 and whether currently authorized vaccines will protect people against them.  Currently, there is no evidence that these variants cause more severe illness or increased risk of death. 

CURRENT DEATH TOLL AS OF DECEMBER 30, 2020

Worldwide total cases 82.1 million cases with 1.79 million deaths

In the U.S. total cases 19.6 million with 340 thousand deaths.

In Georgia total cases 624 thousand with 10,439 deaths.

OTHER WAYS TO STOP THE PANDEMIC

Vaccines are only one of many important tools to help stop this pandemic.  Other ways to help stop the pandemic are to cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.

If you don’t cover your nose, you are not wearing the mask correctly and are endangering yourself and others. 

by Gloria Tatum

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