Sun. Sep 25th, 2022
Image of a seated woman receiving an injection.
enlarge NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 14: Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, has been vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester in the Queens neighborhood of New York City.

In the wake of positive results from large-scale trials, many countries are adopting the COVID-19 vaccine produced by the Pfizer/BioNTech collaboration. That led to some of the general population’s first vaccinations last week. In the US, it took until Friday for the vaccine to receive an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Agency. After that decision, vaccine shipments began almost immediately, and now reports are coming in of the first vaccinations in the US.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine uses a technology that, while not uncommon in biology labs, has not been used in vaccinations before. The vaccine consists of RNA molecules with a fatty chemical coating. The fur will fuse to the surface of human cells and dump the RNA into it, where it directs the production of the coronavirus’ Spike protein. Once a person’s cells produce Spike, the immune system reacts to it and prepares to protect the person from infection by the virus proper.

Unfortunately, this formulation requires the vaccine to be stored at very low temperatures during shipment. In the US, both FedEx and UPS provide trucks equipped to meet these requirements; American and United Airlines are also working together to get the vaccine to distribution centers.

For many months, however, the primary limitation on vaccine availability will not be shipping, but rather production capacity. While supplies are limited, vaccines will be distributed based on a combination of need and risk. For now, the only ones who should receive doses are health professionals, who are at high risk for exposure, and the elderly, who are experiencing the worst effects of COVID-19.

Word was leaked Sunday that the White House was planning to grant early access to its staff. While staff are at high risk of exposure due to the administration’s inability to follow public health guidelines, many of them are already immune from previous exposure, and others don’t fall into an obvious high-risk category. . Shortly after reports of the plan became public, however, President Trump announced that the plan would be shelved.

As a result, one of the first reports of a person getting the vaccine was someone who should be getting it: a health worker in Queens, New York, named Sandra Lindsay. Afterwards, Lindsay spoke clearly that she was aware that the vaccine would be scarce for months and that the politicization of the pandemic made some hesitant to get it. So she used her time in the spotlight to encourage vaccination and to explain the importance of following public health advice until it’s an option for everyone.

We are in a pandemic and so we all need to do our part to end the pandemic and not give up so easily. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we still have to keep wearing our masks, until social distancing. I believe in science. As a nurse, my practice is guided by science, and I rely on that. What I don’t trust is that if I do contract COVID, I don’t know how it will affect me or those I interact with. So I encourage everyone to take the vaccine.

Given the current prevalence of the virus in the US, widespread vaccination will not come soon enough to change the dynamics of the pandemic this winter. As a result, the nation’s eventual death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic will be greatly affected by our ability to follow public health advice on mask use, social distancing and other responsible behavior in the coming months. We are lucky that Lindsay jumps at her chance to bring this message home.

By akfire1

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