Rollout of COVID Vaccines Offers Hope for a Better Year

Vincent Kornacki, Reporting Journalist

With COVID cases still rising across the country, one small glimmer of hope still exists that we will be able to return to our normal lives, and it’s all because of the COVID vaccines. The news has been flooded recently with reports about a wide variety of vaccines being tested, including some that will only be available to particular demographics and others that will be offered to everyone. What does this all mean?

So far, only two vaccines are being distributed in America. The first vaccine was made by Pfizer and BioNTech. This vaccine is given in two doses, with the second dose being given three weeks after the first. Additionally, this vaccine has to be frozen at -112 degrees Fahrenheit to -76 degrees Fahrenheit while it is being transported, which makes this vaccine difficult to send across the country. Finally, this vaccine is only approved for people 16 and older and has been shown to lead to problems like headaches, muscle pains, and injection site pains.

The second vaccine that is already being distributed was made by Moderna. This vaccine also requires two doses, but these are supposedly spaced four weeks apart. What makes the Moderna vaccine special is the fact that it can be stored in a temperature range from -13 degrees Fahrenheit to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. So while the Pfizer vaccine requires special military-grade freezers to be stored, the Moderna vaccine can be stored in the average freezer. This high storage temperature greatly increases the feasibility of transporting the Moderna vaccine and means that small pharmacies will be able to afford to store the vaccine since they do not have to pay for an expensive specialized freezer.