12/22/20   |   By

What You Need to Know About the Recently Released COVID Vaccines: Part 1

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After nearly a year of dealing with COVID in the United States, there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel. Multiple vaccines have been approved for emergency use and are in the early stages of being administered to health care workers and the nation’s most vulnerable residents.

We hold great hope in the COVID vaccines, but will they really be the miracle cure that we desire? Are they as dangerous as the skeptics claim? We delve into the greatest concerns and opportunities in this three-part blog series.

Which Vaccines Will Be Available in the United States?

As of mid-December, the Pfizer vaccine was approved for use in the U.S. The Moderna version is expected to follow soon after. The AstraZeneca vaccine won’t enter the picture in the U.S. until 2021.

While many people will begin to gain access to various vaccines in the near future, the rollout will require extensive coordination. As such, healthy individuals should not expect to receive their dose for some time.

What Are the Differences Between the Vaccines?

The three main vaccines expected in the U.S. hold much in common. All have impressive rates of efficacy, ranging from 70 percent for the AstraZeneca option to an astounding 95 percent for the Pfizer vaccine. However, to achieve full efficacy, most will require two doses. The AstraZeneca version is being evaluated for the possible option of a single dose.

Another noteworthy difference involves storage solutions. The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit, making it complicated to distribute. A storage temperature of -4 degrees makes the Modern version a little easier to handle, while required temperatures of between 36 and 46 degrees make the AstraZeneca vaccine, in many respects, the most practical.

In the next blog, we’ll get into the basics behind how the various vaccines work, as this largely responsible for their differences in efficacy and storage capabilities.

Regan Zambri Long
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