Vaccines on the scene

There have been many changes recently in regard to the current pandemic. Coming back to school four days a week is one of those changes. As a result, there have been many more students in the hallways, which means it is very important to keep masks on. A key player in allowing so many people to come back to school has been the COVID-19 vaccine.

Most teachers and staff have been receiving vaccines, which are free for everyone living in the United States. Now many students can get them as well. Anyone sixteen years or older is eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. This is extremely important now that sports and activities are starting up again after being postponed for over a year. If a certain number of people receive the vaccine, herd immunity can be achieved, but the exact percentage of vaccinated people is still not determined for COVID-19.

On May 10th, the FDA also approved the extension for children ages 12-15 to receive the vaccine, meaning that middle schoolers can be vaccinated before school in the fall. Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to authorize the use of medical countermeasures, like vaccines, during a public health emergency.

Getting vaccinated does not mean that upcoming COVID-19 tests will end up positive. Even though there are some symptoms, like fever, the vaccine cannot actually give a person the virus. It merely allows the immune system to learn how to fight the virus and create antibodies. However, it can be up to two weeks after receiving the vaccine before an immunity is developed, so be careful and keep wearing masks because it is still possible to catch the virus!

While the Pfizer vaccine can be given at twelve, the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccines are still at eighteen. Both Pfizer and Moderna have two doses. There are at least three weeks between each dose of the Pfizer vaccine and at least four weeks for Moderna, but both can be postponed for up to six weeks, although it is not recommended.

Research is still being done on how well the vaccine prevents the spread of COVID-19 and how long the immunity lasts, so it is important to keep wearing a mask and follow safety guidelines.