One Year: COVID – 19

Kaleigh Reynolds

December of 2019, COVID-19 was brought to the attention of the World Health Organization (WHO). However, it wasn’t until March 11, 2020, that the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define COVID as “a new disease, caused by a novel [or new] coronavirus that has not previously shown in humans.”

Due to its unfamiliarity, scientists are continuously learning more about this disease each day. COVID has had an unfortunate impact on many. From March of 2020 to now, many people have lost their homes, businesses, jobs, loved ones and more.

Vaccine development is a strenuous process, talking close to 10-15 years on average to accomplish. With COVID being spreading quickly and the number at death stacking up, there was an immediate worry. With worry, pressure was placed on world-wide healthcare systems and economies; causing extraordinary efforts to be made to bring about a vaccine in expedited time.

As for The United States specifically, according to a series of announcements from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), shortly after COVID was announced as a global pandemic, the HHS created an operation called “Operation Warp Speed” (OWS) in an attempt to expedite a COVID-19 vaccine.

Through OWS, the U.S. Administration could produce a vaccine and get it approved within the year. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that protects public health, has currently approved three vaccines.

Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and now Johnson & Johnson-Janssen are now being offered to the American people. In December of 2020, the U.S. FDA issued the first emergency use authorization for a vaccine, the Pfizer-BioNTech.

Shortly after Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, an American pharmaceutical and biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, released a vaccine. Stephane Bancel, the CEO, said that the company “is committed to making as many updates to our vaccine as necessary until the pandemic is under control” in a press release February 24. Moderna’s current vaccine delivers genetic material to cells to trigger a spike in protein which then get the body to produce antibodies to fight COVID-19. This is to help that in the event of a fully vaccinated (two separate vaccine dosages) person is exposed to the virus, the body should trigger an immune response and create antibodies that fight the virus.

According to Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC), Johnson and Johnson is the newest company to bring a vaccine to the table. Approved by the FDA, Johnson and Johnson vaccine has shown a 72% efficacy rate for moderate illness. For diseases such as COVID-19, it has a 64% effective according to FDA data in South Africa and 66% rate of effectiveness in Brazil.

Unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, Johnson and Johnson is a single-dose vaccine that uses an adenovirus. This virus causes the common cold as a messenger to deliver instructions to the body’s cells.

With each vaccine comes its own set of side effects, however, typical side effects include pain, redness and swelling in the arm where the shot was administered. Other side effects include fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea.

In a new conference held on March 2, 2021, President of the United States Joe Biden announced that there would be enough supplies for every American to be able to get a vaccine.  

“We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” Mr. President said. When presented with the question of if the U.S. would ever get back to some form of normal, President Biden answered by saying, “my hope is, by this time next year, we’re going to be back to normal [. . .].”

President Biden is still encouraging the American people to wear their masks and social distance.

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