The arrival of COVID-19 vaccinations has been long-awaited. But to most people in the U.S., they are unavailable. Anthony Fauci told CNN that “it may take until June, July and August to finally get everyone vaccinated.” This seems like a long time after we’ve all been stuck in quarantine for the better part of a year.
Johnson&Johnson has had delays in their vaccine production. Zimmer, LaFraniere, and Weiland of the New York Times wrote that “Federal officials have been told that the company has fallen as much as two months behind the original production schedule and won’t catch up until the end of April.” The article goes on to state that “the delay also highlights the unrealistic promises of Operation Warp Speed.” Simply put, vaccine production is a lengthy and involved process meaning there are bound to be delays here and there. But that doesn’t change the fact that we need to be getting shots in arms as quickly as possible.
The arrival of the Johnson&Johnson vaccine could be extremely beneficial to beating this pandemic. While The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses 21 and 28 days apart, respectively, the J&J vaccine may only require one. The New York Times article goes on to note that “its vaccine can stay stable in a refrigerator for months, whereas the others have to be frozen.” In a BioSpace article, it was stated that “the single-shot vaccine is 66% effective overall in preventing moderate-to-severe COVID-19, 28 days after vaccination. However, it demonstrated 100% efficacy and prevented severe disease after day 49.” We’re awaiting the approval and arrival of this vaccine with high hopes.
In Washington State there have been delays in the shipments of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines due to extreme weather conditions, writes King5. The article goes on to note that “the delays have already forced the state to close the Benton-Franklin mass vaccination site in Kennewick and the Spokane site.” A few other sites are partially open and the Wenatchee site is operating as usual, King5 reports.
Michele Roberts “said about 83% of the vaccine doses delivered to Washington state since December have been administered,” write Evan Bush and Sandi Doughton of the Seattle Times. Michele Roberts is the Department of Health’s acting assistant secretary. The article goes on to quote state epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist, “we’re in a very different part of this epidemic in Washington state right now … with a lot of tools at our disposal: Two vaccines and a new one (from Johnson&Johnson) likely on the way,” Lindquist said. “I’m feeling very optimistic.”
The Seattle Times article also writes that Lindquist says, “like flu and other respiratory bugs, the novel coronavirus probably transmits more readily in the depths of winter and could be slowing down as the season begins to shift.”
There have been many hurdles to overcome during this pandemic, and we haven’t reached the end of it, but things are starting to look up again after many dark months of isolation and uncertainty. Washington should be receiving more vaccine shipments from Pfizer and Moderna soon after the harsh winter weather has subsided. The Johnson&Johnson vaccine could also be a real game-changer once it has been approved. And so, to quote John Lennon, “everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
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