Astounding news inundated the media and news networks on Monday, Nov. 9, as the pharmaceutical company Pfizer released to the public that their new COVID-19 vaccine had 90 percent effectiveness in trials. This is phenomenal for our country, as a COVID-19 vaccine is something for which us Americans have been yearning.
Living in the coronavirus pandemic has become something that I, along with most other Americans, have grown very accustomed to. No one, including myself, could have ever imagined living during a time such as this pandemic, where we cannot even leave the comfort of our homes without wearing a face mask. For some of us, we have gone months without seeing family and friends face to face. Social distancing and video calls have become the new norm. The news of the Pfizer vaccine may be the long awaited hope we were all anticipating that could allow us to return to some normalcy.
Due to how long the pandemic has been going on, I had found myself losing hope as to when my life would return to how it once was. The ground breaking news of the Pfizer vaccine having 90 percent effectiveness in trials was a gleaming light of hope in my life. I believe it is very safe to say that most of us Americans wish more than anything for our lives to return to the usual day-to-day we once knew.
While this is very exciting news, there are some drawbacks to the vaccine. According to an article from STAT, there is still some key information about the vaccine that is not yet available. Specifically, there is no information regarding whether the vaccine prevents severe cases of COVID-19. These severe cases fall under the categories of those who have had to be hospitalized or have died upon contracting the virus.
Reading about this, I was not too shocked because, as with any new medical discoveries, they all have their possible drawbacks. It takes time to perfect these sorts of things, especially with a vaccine for the coronavirus, which is something that has affected and taken so many lives around the world.
According to the director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, Michael Osterholm, it is still too early to predict how much of an impact the vaccine could actually make. Osterholm’s realistic perspective on the vaccine is similar to the perspective I have taken towards the vaccine. While the recent discovery of the vaccine’s 90 percent effectiveness does provide us all with hope, it is important to remain realistic.
Since the vaccine has only been studied for a number of months, not years, there still is no telling how long it will protect against the virus. The vaccine also causes individuals to encounter some side effects. These side effects include aches and fevers. While this may steer some away from receiving the vaccine, these side effects go hand in hand with the side effects seen in standard adult vaccines. However, the severity of the side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are more likely to present themselves to a worse degree.
When it comes to receiving the vaccine or not, everyone’s health varies, and should be taken into strong consideration when deciding whether or not to receive the vaccine. Being a young, healthy 20-year-old, this is something I have considered. I am a college student living on my university’s campus during a global pandemic, and have accepted and witnessed the severities of COVID-19. With that said, I do have some hesitations when it comes to receiving the vaccine. While I do not wish to ever contract the disease, the statistics and numbers have shown that most individuals my age recover from COVID-19. Knowing this information, I remain optimistic that if I were ever to contract the disease, I too would recover from it. Keeping all of this in mind, I would feel much more comfortable receiving the vaccine once it has been perfected, and more information is provided to the public about how individuals who receive the vaccine react to it. For individuals my age who may suffer from health conditions that put them at higher risk, it may be beneficial for them to receive the vaccine.
In addition to young adults who have underlying health conditions, I think all individuals who suffer from any health conditions that cause them to have a compromised immune system should also receive the vaccine. Having a father who suffers from Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, I have witnessed the stress that comes from individuals such as my dad living through a global pandemic. People like my dad already suffer a great deal and experience worsened symptoms from viruses such as the common cold. With that said, so long as the doctors of those who suffer from underlying health conditions approve them to receive the vaccine, I think it is in their best interest to do so.
Just like many events in our country, the announcement of the effectiveness of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has caused some political unrest. According to an article from The Washington Post, the news shattering development of the success rate of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has caused a “political fight.” It was also stated in the article that, “Republicans rushed to claim credit” for the Pfizer vaccine. Pfizer refuted this statement made by Republicans, saying they refused to accept government money. Pfizer may not have taken any government research funding, but they did sign a $2 billion contract with the federal government to deliver 100 million doses of the vaccine by December. Republicans rushing to claim credit for the vaccine may have been out of line, but the political uproar that has resulted from the success rate of the vaccine is also uncalled for.
As a result of the release of the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine, many have been expressing their opinion towards the Trump administration and the blame they deserve for the “mishandling of the pandemic.” I do firmly believe the government should be involved in a matter as severe as a global pandemic; however, I do not think undermining political parties is acceptable. Unity is something our country stands and strives for. Discussions of whether the COVID-19 pandemic was handled properly or not by our country’s government is not something that should be causing as much divide as it is. There is no telling how any political figure would have handled the COVID-19 pandemic, as this was not something our country had suffered from, or lived through, in recent times. President Trump had to use his best judgement, as this was a matter he could not reflect or look back on how a previous president handled it.
We have all suffered through so much this year, and drawing politics into conversations related to our citizens’ health should not be occurring. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but I do not think we should allow our political opinions to cause disunity among each other when our country is still suffering from COVID-19 and seeing a major, recent spike in the number of cases.
There is no telling when our country will cease living through this pandemic. The very high effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine trials have, however, offered us all a bit of hope. While the vaccine is in the works, it is very important that we all continue wearing our masks and keeping our distance from others. Our top priority should be to remain safe and healthy, and do our part to not only keep ourselves healthy, but also those around us.