COVID-19 vaccine 2021 update

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

Even though 2020 is finally over, citizens everywhere continue to lead uneasy lives in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent months have shown signs of hope as the United States approves two COVID-19 vaccines for distribution from the Pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and Moderna.

FILE – In this Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 photo, a pharmacist with Walgreens Pharmacy prepares a syringe with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for residents and staff at the The Palace assisted living facility in Coral Gables, Fla. Florida was one of the first states to throw open vaccine eligibility to members of the general public over 65, leading to rumors that tourists and day-trippers are swooping into the state solely for the jab. Gov. Ron DeSantis said stories of the rich flying to Florida, getting vaccinated and returning home are overblown. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) (AP)

Both vaccines require a total of two shots.  The second Pfizer shot is supposed to give three weeks apart and for Moderna, four weeks apart.  It is advised that you do not mix COVID-19 vaccines, meaning both doses should be from the same Pharmaceutical company as they are not interchangeable.  Experts say it is not dangerous to receive mixed doses, however, it would raise concerns about the effectiveness of the vaccine as there have been no studies regarding this.

Further, there have been cases where immunity to the virus after vaccination doesn’t occur right away, meaning patients are still vulnerable to catching COVID-19 and should use caution when out in public.  However, research from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that people start building up immunity to the virus a few weeks after receiving their second shot.

Thanks to the efforts of Operation Warp Speed headed by chief operating officer General Gustav F. Perna, the government has issued a distribution plan that will allow large amounts of COVID-19 vaccines to safely reach the public. Vaccinations for COVID-19 began on Dec. 14 with healthcare workers and will follow with a plan that prioritizes those with the highest risk for complications, such as the elderly and persons with compromised immune systems. As of Jan.14,  the United States has administered over 11.3 million first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 1.08 million have completed the two-dose regimen. However, the number of vaccinations has been lagging as the country has failed to meet the intended goal of administering 20 million doses by last year.  

Seniors stand in line to make an appointment to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine outside the King’s Point clubhouse in Delray Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (Greg Lovett /The Palm Beach Post via AP) (AP)

As healthcare workers are in the process of getting their second dose of coronavirus vaccine, hospitalizations continue to surge throughout the nation. Numbers in Florida continue to grow as they have recently reached over 1.5 million cases, resulting in over 23,613  deaths as of Jan. 14.  The UNF administration has required UNF students living on campus to be tested for COVID-19  before returning to campus. UNF students enrolled in classes for the Spring 2021 semester are required to complete the UNF COVID-19 Educational Program. The Spring 2021 COVID-19 Education Program has been updated with the latest CDC guidelines and, therefore, must be completed even if you completed the Fall 2020 COVID-19 Education Program.  

For any questions regarding this learning assignment, contact [email protected].  Strategies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 are effective handwashing, social distancing, and personal protective equipment, such as facial masks and shields.  In addition, it is important to do daily self-screening that is available through the Safe Osprey App and self-reporting should you show symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for the virus. If we all do our part, we keep our campus a safe and COVID-free campus.


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