Most people will agree that the last 12 months have been very eventful, impactful and woeful. The best COVID-19 news in recent months has been the approval and shipment of two vaccines that are giving hope to those to receive it first – those in the medical field that have saved lives, those first responders that don’t have the option of “stay home – stay safe,” and the elderly in group homes that have been hardest hit by the death rate in Minnesota. Now we get to be hopeful.
In November, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had completed the testing protocols, received FDA approval, and were being shipped to states. The vaccines are at no cost to you. While the Federal government’s supply to the states has had some delays, Governor Tim Walz announced the opening of vaccination sites on January 18 to reach those 65 and older, pre-K – 12 teachers, and those in a high-risk group. The closest site for our Camden area is Brooklyn Center. (At the time of article submission, the dates and number of openings is not known.)
There are other companies nearing FDA submission for their vaccines, which will increase the ability to vaccinate in larger numbers.
- The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved in the United Kingdom and is being administered there. Drug trials in the U.S. are wrapping up; with FDA approval, this vaccine could be available in April.
- Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires only one dose, which is great, but the drug trials have not completed, and then the FDA approval must be given.
- The author of this article has volunteered for the Novavax phase 3 testing, which is being done at 115 sites across the U.S., including the University of Minnesota.
With this hopeful news, it is important that we all continue to do what has kept us healthy thus far: wash hands or use sanitizer frequently, wear a mask whenever leaving your home or when others come into your home, and limit your contact with others (socially distance). This is important whether you have had COVID-19 already or been vaccinated. With the virus mutating, it is not known yet if the vaccine or the antibodies your body created will protect you. Be safe, not sorry.
Finally, be aware of chances to be kind. It has been a long 12 months and it may be another 12 months until we’ve completely defeated the coronavirus. We can get through this, North Minneapolis!