COVID Vaccine: The Beginning of the End


Daphne Renoux

The new COVID-19 vaccine marks a decisive point in this pandemic.

Daphne Renoux, Staff Writer

This past week, the first of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines were distributed. This vaccine was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration and is reported to have a 95 percent effectiveness at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 cases. After approval, the vaccine was sent shipped to locations throughout the country and later administered to many frontline workers, marking a milestone in the timeline of COVID-19.

The vaccine was created by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, a German company. It is based on the ribonucleic acid of the virus, which is part of its genetic code. This has never been done before, as vaccines are usually created from fragments of the virus itself. It was proven effective through clinical trials and approved by the FDA on Dec. 11, 2020.

The vaccine has to be taken in two separate doses, about three to four weeks apart from each other, to be effective and is recommended to be used only on people 16 years or older. The first Americans taking this vaccine are front-line workers, as well as the most vulnerable, such as the elderly. Around 100 million Americans are expected to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by February or March 2021.

The first vaccine dose was taken by a Northwell Long Island Jewish Medical Center critical care nurse, Sandra Lindsay. Lindsey lives in Queens, and after seeing the toll the pandemic has taken on her own neighborhood, she encourages others to take the vaccine as well. “I believe in science. As a nurse, my practice is guided by science, and so I trust that… so I encourage everyone to take the vaccine,” Lindsay said.

“If given the opportunity, I would take the vaccine because I believe in science and if it is ready to be given out to people all over the world, it is safe,” freshman Giada Procopio said.

So far, 2.9 million doses have already been shipped out to 636 sites across the country, and a second batch of 2.9 million doses is expected soon. This vaccine is arriving just in time, at the deadliest point in the pandemic for the U.S. Over 16 million cases and almost 300,000 deaths have been reported so far according to Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center. The vaccine is expected to slow down the virus and to progressively allow U.S. residents to resume their daily lives.

“I am so ready [for things to go back to normal]. For one, as a freshman, our real high school experience would start, local clubs would start re-opening, and we would all be able to go back to our after-school activities,” freshman Hana Pertwee said.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been one of the deadliest pandemics in history, with effects of the same level as the 1918 influenza or the bubonic plague. This vaccine is one of the fastest ever developed. In less than one year after the first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported, this vaccine was developed, tested and approved. It is being administered to millions of Americans after only months of testing and research. The question now is: will the vaccine return anticipated results? Only time will tell.