"Syringe and Vaccine" by NIAID is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It’s been a little over one year since the CDC announced the coronavirus as a global pandemic, and life as we know it was put on hold. Over 2.8 million lives have been lost worldwide due to this pandemic. Millions of people around the world have been trying for months to find a solution to the issue. But now there is finally hope in the form of three new vaccines. For the first time in a long time, the light might finally be showing at the end of the tunnel.

Vaccines have been rolling out since the beginning of this year with just over 136 million administered within the United States.

As of right now there are three major vaccines to help with COVID-19. The first one comes from Pfizer and is 95% effective. It’s done by having 2 shots total, with the second shot coming 21 days after the first. This one is given in the upper arm and may have side effects such as headache, chills, and fevers.

The second vaccine is from Moderna, and this one is somewhat similar to the Pfizer shot. This one however takes a little bit longer before you get your second dose and is 94% effective.

The last and most recent one is the Johnson & Johnson which is 66.3% effective with similar possible side effects as the first two. In addition this shot is only a one dose.

Even with all of this information, some people still have mixed feelings about the vaccine.

Robert Ferrara, a second year student at PCC has a view that changed over time.

“I was really hesitant at first because I wanted to see a more positive result, but after more and more people getting it, I feel reassured and I am starting to reconsider and plan on getting it,” Ferrara said.

Ferrara also explained that people who are close to him were unfortunately testing positive for the virus. This had also impacted his decision on finally getting the vaccine to help protect the people he loves.

This is an insight that other people might have as well. When it comes to new medical breakthroughs like this, there often is that thought of uncertainty. Progress comes with time and results.

Dr. Lauren Akner is a history professor at PCC who just received her second dose and has had a pretty good feeling about getting vaccinated.

“Luckily, I did not have any major side effects. My arm where I got the shot hurt quite a bit for a couple days after both doses, but that is essentially all,” said Akner.

People who were able to get any of these vaccines have had different reactions to it. Everyone’s body is different and that is essentially a big factor in all of this. Some of the common symptoms include fever, chills, and possibly nausea. It is only if it happens to be something more serious like an allergic reaction, that it can turn into something that is a lot more problematic.

The process of getting the vaccine is something that has become an easier task over time as well.

Michael Rhine is another sophomore student on campus who has actually received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

“Signing up for the vaccine at CVS was a very easy process. It took a little while to find an available one who had spots. The website just asked questions if I was allergic to anything that would be in it or if I had any problems with blood thinners,” Rhine said.

The CDC came up with recommendations on who should get the vaccine first and how it would be rolled out. There are three different phases they set up on their site.

Phase 1A was made up of certain healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents. Phase 1B consists of frontline workers and people who are 75 and older. Finally, Phase 1C includes people aged 64-74, then age 16-64, followed by other essential workers.

There is a lot that goes into the very anticipated vaccines but like with the very first flu shot, it takes time before more people can get vaccinated.

About 16.1% of the total U.S. population has been vaccinated. We still have a long way to go but this is a start. Millions of vaccines are being distributed when they become available. Its been a little over a year since COVID-19 hit the world, and now that these vaccines are out, hope is in the air.

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