Who Should Have Priority Access to COVID-19 Vaccine?

When the first COVID-19 case was discovered in the U.S, we all turned to the CDC and health care professionals for answers. Slightly less than a year later, Dec. 11, 2020, the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine as an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the coronavirus. It was then sent out to be administered throughout the US. 

Another vaccine might also be on the way. The Moderna vaccine is currently going through FDA testing, and if it meets all the requirements, it will start being distributed to other states Monday. So far the second vaccine has proven to be 94% effective at preventing illness. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have similar side effects such as: fatigue, headache, and muscle and joint pain.  

Many are hesitant to take the vaccine due to its properties, although they don’t differ from the kind in a common flu shot. In every vaccine there is a strain of the virus in it. When the virus is injected into a patient, their immune system learns to react defensively by creating antibodies to fight the virus. When antibodies are created, the immune system makes memory cells which continue to endure even after the virus is killed by the antibodies.

The CDC advisory group recommended healthcare personnels and residents of long-term care facilities (nursing homes) should be the first to receive the vaccine. Both groups are at high risk of acquiring the virus.

As a person with family members who work as healthcare personnel and are on the frontline, I was relieved when I heard the CDC’s recommendation that healthcare personnel and senior citizens should receive the vaccine first. 

Healthcare personnel should be the first to get the vaccine because they put themselves at high risk to save people who have caught the virus. Keeping doctors and nurses healthy is important because if doctors are healthy, they will be able to save more lives. Being a healthcare worker is very risky in normal circumstances and it is even riskier during this pandemic. Every day my mom, aunties, cousins and uncle go to do their jobs in the hospitals. I get scared when they go to work because I don’t know if they are going to come back home safe or come back with COVID-19. Healthcare professionals getting the vaccine first will keep them safe, keep their families safe and also reassure the families that their loved ones are going to be okay.

I am also glad to know that senior citizens are being given priority when it comes to vaccinations. When COVID-19 first struck the US, senior citizens were (and still are) being attacked by COVID-19 at alarming rates. The senior citizens who live in nursing homes are especially vulnerable because they live in large facilities with lots of other people, so infections spread quickly. Senior citizens need to get the vaccine as soon as possible because their immune system is not strong enough to fight the virus. Giving them the vaccines will help boost their immune system, enable them to better fight the virus and ensure they live long lives. 

The vaccine still has many wondering if it’s safe to take, citizens have reported that they are worried about it’s ingredients, hence refusing to take the shot. Whether Americans plan to take it or not, it will still be a huge step toward benefiting public safety. 

Update: Since this article was written, the Moderna vaccine was approved by the FDA and is being distributed to states.