An Update on the COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 virus has impacted the lives of many people. These past couple of months have been a whirlwind of emotions for most of us. Restaurants closed, mask mandates, virtual school/working from home. This virus has derailed the lives of many, but fortunately, the world is starting to return to some form of normalcy, and we can finally look forward to going outside without the risk of getting the virus. Across the US, governments are loosening social distancing rules and relaxing mask mandates. Businesses are fully opening due to a gradual but steady decline in COVID-19 cases and progress in the vaccination campaign. 

In the state of Texas, 24.2 million (78%) of the state’s 31.2 million doses have been administered so far. As of now, about 37.9% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated. The number of COVID-19 cases was at its peak in January of 2021 but has since reduced due to the advancement in the vaccination area. The current weekly average of new cases for the disease is about 14,000, which is a more than 94% drop from January. According to the CDC, about 64.5% of Americans, above the age of 18, have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine. 

As many of you know, the Pfizer vaccine has recently been approved for children ages 12 and above. Moderna is currently awaiting approval from the FDA about whether children of this age will be able to safely take its vaccine. Experts expect that it probably won’t be approved until the fall. Many colleges and universities have already announced that they will be required either all face-to-face students or all students living in dorms to be fully vaccinated against COVID before returning for the fall semester. This also increases the chances of a safe return to face-to-face school in the fall, due to many high schoolers, middle schoolers, getting vaccinated, and the cancellation of virtual school for 2021-2022. The US is currently administering, on average, 1.1 million shots a day, which is a drop from the 3 million shots a day back in April. In addition, a new survey found that most Americans are in favor of the COVID-19 vaccine being a requirement for students in middle school and above. With vaccination rates in decline, most people are leaning towards a requirement for students, similar to the mandatory vaccines against Measles, chickenpox, and other diseases. According to a poll of 3,500 people, 61% supported a requirement for college students, 56% for high schoolers, and 51% for middle schoolers.

At the beginning of his presidency, US President Joe Biden announced that he would do everything he could to get 100 million doses administered within his first 100 days. He also urged Americans that haven’t yet gotten vaccinated to do so as soon as possible, pointing to the numerous lives lost due to the virus. “We’ve made enormous progress in the United States. Much of the country is returning to normal and our economic recovery is leading the world and the number of cases and deaths are dropping dramatically but there are still too many lives being lost.” He said, referring to the fact that there are now roughly 370 daily deaths due to COVID-19. He also goes on to express his condolences to the people who have lost loved ones due to the virus. “My heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one. I know that black hole that seems to consume you, that fills up your chest when you lose someone close to you that you adored.” Then, he went on to urge unvaccinated people to get vaccinated quickly. “If you have not been vaccinated, get vaccinated,” he stated. “Get vaccinated as soon as possible, we have plenty of vaccinations, plenty of sites. We have more work to do to beat this virus and now is not the time to let our guard down.” He then set a goal of vaccinating at least 70 percent of US adults with at least one dose before July 4th, in time for US Independence Day, but it appears increasingly unlikely to meet that goal given our current progress. 13 states have reached the 70% mark, but others are falling behind. During US Vice President, Kamala Harris’s, vaccine tour in South Carolina, she addresses people’s health concerns about the vaccine. “The vaccines- let me say it again- are safe. They are safe. And they are free. And they are effective. And it is that simple,” she emphasizes. “If you are vaccinated, you are protected. If your community is vaccinated, COVID rates in your community will go down.” 

Overall, we have had great progress with the vaccine. More and more people are getting vaccinated daily, but there are still complications in the COVID area. The recent Delta variant worries many since it’s 60% more transmissible than the previous Alpha variant back in January. I hope this article enlightened you and be sure to check out our other articles. Let’s all do our part in this and get vaccinated!