Coronavirus cases have been steadily rising again in the U.S. putting many states back into lockdowns. This has been detrimental causing 20.6 million people to lose their jobs since March, according to CIDRAP.
But with the help of Operation Warp Speed, the FDA has finally approved an emergency use COVID-19 vaccine by the American pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech.
Vaccines generally take upwards of 10 years to develop. The COVID vaccine has been developed in under a year. The previous fastest vaccine creation, which took four years, was for the viral infection Mumps.
The first round of the COVID vaccine started to make its way to people over the age of 65 on Dec. 11. That group is at the highest risk of dying or suffering complications if they get sick. It is also being distributed to frontline health workers.
Forty million doses are expected to be distributed by the end of the year according to General Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed. This would be enough to inoculate 20 million people; the vaccine is distributed in two doses that are given 21 days apart.
High school students are expected to be one of the final groups to receive the vaccine since they are less prone to serious illness and because extensive testing with the vaccine on children has not been completed according to The Washington Post. High schools have not begun to come up with mandates on the vaccines because it is not yet ready for teenagers.
According to a report by The BMJ on papers published by Pfizer, the vaccine should be 52 percent effective after the first dose and 95 percent effective after the second dose. The modern flu vaccine, by comparison, is generally 67 percent effective according to a 2012 meta-analysis published by PubMed.gov titled “Efficacy and Effectiveness of Influenza Vaccines.”
According to President-elect Joe Biden, full-capacity schooling could return just 120 days after the start of the year if everyone gets vaccinated and follows CDC guidelines .