Scientists believe they have found a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus and major companies are gearing up to release it possibly soon.
But there are still a lot of questions surrounding a vaccine and not every one will be able to get it right away. MySA has rounded up the answers to some questions you may have about the vaccine.
When will the vaccine be available?
It is still unclear when a vaccine for adults will become available, but health officials believe the first supplies will be available by the end of the month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Supplies will be limited at first, but all adults should be able to receive a vaccine by the end of 2021, the CDC said.
Who will get the vaccine first?
Health care workers who treat COVID-19 patients are set to receive a vaccine first, including doctors, nurses, other support staff and health care professionals. After that, high priority will be given to nursing home residents, first responders, people over 65 and individuals with pre-existing conditions, University Health said Tuesday.
Who is producing the vaccine?
In the United States, two companies say they have a vaccine ready to go: Pfzier and Moderna. Pfzier will request emergency use authorization on Dec. 10 to the Food and Drug Administration. Moderna is submitting its request a week later. Both vaccines have shown “very high efficiency” for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 in clinical trials, the Department of Health and Human Services said. There are also at least three other companies that have clinical trials in progress or planned, according to the CDC.
Worldwide, there are more than 200 vaccine candidates with 48 clinical trials started in the last month, the World Health Organization said.
Is the vaccine safe:
Pfzier and Moderna say their respective vaccines are safe. The vaccine will be examined by the FDA for its safety and efficiency in clinical trials. According to the CDC, two shots will be needed in order for the vaccine to be effective.
Side effects have been reported in the trials following the second dose that include pain at the injection site, fatigue, and aching muscles and joints in the days following the injection, according to a USA Today article. However, the long term effects won’t be known until the trials end and the research participants are monitored for years after, according to the article.
Where can you get the vaccine?
Vaccines will be available at most major medical facilities, but in an effort to make the vaccine more readily available, the HHS is partnering with pharmacies across the country to provide the vaccine. In San Antonio, stores like H-E-B, CVS, Costco, Walgreens and Walmart are prepared to receive the vaccine when it is approved.
There is also a potential for drive-thru vaccine sites in San Antonio that will act similar to the current flu vaccination sites, University Health officials said.
How will the vaccine be administered?
You will need two shots. For the Pfzier vaccine, the second dose comes 21 days after the first one. Moderna’s second dose is 28 days later.
Both vaccines, however, need to be stored in extremely cold temperatures of at least minus-94 degrees, and distribution sites will need to either have ultra-cold-storage units or a well-developed plan to transport and administer the vaccines, according to University Health.
“You have several days, or several hours, depending on how you’ve thawed it out to administer,” said George Hernández, the president and CEO of University Health, on Tuesday. “We have to have a bar code system so we get the right vaccine to the right patient. It’s about as complicated as it gets.”
Is the COVID-19 vaccine free?
The vaccine will be free, however, some vaccine providers can charge for giving the shot to individuals. The providers can be reimbursed for this fee by the patient’s public or private insurance company or if a patient is uninsured, they can be reimbursed through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund, the CDC said.
Taylor Pettaway is a breaking news and general assignment reporter for MySA.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | @TaylorPettaway