After extensive review, on Friday December 11, the FDA approved emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine created by Pfizer-BioNTech. With the CDC, FDA and independent reviews by a few states, the results have deemed the vaccine safe for the public. The vaccine used messenger RNA to help body cells make proteins. Clinical trials of the vaccine have shown that it is 95% effective and will be administered to people over the age of 16. While some side effects reported include achiness and headaches have been noted, getting the vaccine is essential to establish herd immunity.
According to the NY Times, about 2.9 million vials of the vaccine are being distributed immediately within the United States. Transferring from Pfizer facilities in Wisconsin and Michigan to distribution centers, the vaccine is on the way to 636 distribution centers according to Gen. Gustave F. Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed. UPS and FedEx are working to distribute the vaccine.The logistics for transportation have been in production for the past few months according to the NY Times. Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be kept below minus 94 degrees. Specialty shipping boxes are used to keep them at this temperature. In addition, they are being tracked with bluetooth and radio-enabled labels. To keep the deep freeze, the boxes cannot be opened more than twice per day.
While news of vaccine distribution over the next few months brings hope to millions of Americans, continue to follow CDC guidelines this holiday season. Remember that the virus is spreading at increased speed throughout the United States. Based on the CDC COVID-19 Tracker, on Saturday, December 12, 207,000 new coronavirus cases were reported within the United States as well as more than 2,200 deaths. Wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart from others, and quarantine or obtain a COVID-19 test before seeing others outside one’s circle for extended periods of time. As an alternative to being together, video chat using Zoom, Facetime, Google meet or other preferred video messaging sources to keep in touch.
The vaccine is on the way, but in the meantime, stay safe and vigilant this holiday season. From all of us at Cold FAid®, happy holidays!