In a year that has drained people of hope, health officials believe they have reached a functioning vaccine for COVID-19. Although the FDA has not approved of it, planning for it’s distribution has already begun. This post will go over when we should expect the vaccine’s approval in the US, who will be priority, and what barriers are left before we can return to normalcy.
Now that the US, and the rest of the world, might be on the verge of a breakthrough, some worry about how fast we got here. This has sprung some to distrust the vaccine and its origin, which concerns officials. Yet, the promise of a vaccine, something that seemed like a long-shot, gives us all some hope for the times ahead.
What Is Holding Approval Back?
Back in early November of this year, both Pfizer and Moderna, two of the many companies that worked on a COVID vaccine, announced that they had created an effective vaccine. In fact, the Pfizer vaccine has a 95% success rate while the Moderna vaccine has a 94.5% success rate according to the New York Times.
Now, you may be wondering why the heck would our government not approve of this vaccine already? Well, the FDA has not approved it for legitimate reasons, such as wanting to see all of the data first. Meanwhile, the UK approved an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine, leaving some US officials feeling indifferent.
However, the nation’s top infectious disease official, Dr. Fauci, believes the US will approve the vaccine shortly. According to Business Insider, the vaccine could be approved this Friday, December 11th. While it is exciting and reassuring to know that a vaccine exists, the next question is, who gets it first?
Depending on when either or both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are approved, who will be the first people to get it? According to the Washington Post, the first people to get it will be those working on the front lines, followed by other essential workers. This makes sense, as we need our nurses, doctors, and EMT’s to be healthy in order to take care of those who are not.
After officials dispense the COVID vaccine to those who work the front lines , which groups will follow? Well, the Washington Post article claims that each state will receive vaccinations based on population. This does not mean small states will be left behind, rather that large population groups will have higher amounts of doses.
All in all, the chances of the entire country becoming immunized is months away still. In the same WAPO article, officials believe that by April of 2021, most of the populace will receive a vaccine. So, we just need to hold out for a couple of more months before we can get started on returning the world to the way it was before, right? Not quite.
Barriers Holding Us Back
Outside of vaccine approval, what barriers stand between us and returning to normalcy? Unfortunately, yet understandably, there are a large percentage of Americans who do not trust a COVID vaccine. Among the reasons for distrust is the fact that it has come so soon, which is a bit ironic as people have wanted this pandemic to end since March.
In November, a Gallup poll asked Americans of varying demographics whether they planned on getting the vaccine. They found that 4 in 10 Americans do not want the vaccine, including 12% who distrust vaccines in general.
Despite the distrust, if a vaccine is approved and distributed, all reports believe it will be free. Perhaps once enough people become vaccinated the sceptics will follow suit. If not, there could be ramifications for those who do not get vaccinated. Until then, please continue following CDC guidelines such as wearing a face mask in public.