When the SARS-CoV2 virus responsible for the current COVID-19 pandemic arose in the Wuhan region of China at the end of 2019, no one could have predicted what was to come. In January 2020 China took unprecedented lockdown measures affecting almost a billion people. When that failed to contain the virus the status of COVID-19 as a world upending pandemic had all been cemented (“A Timeline of COVID-19 Developments in 2020”). There were similar lockdowns across the Western world with the arrival of COVID-19 by February 2020. It quickly became apparent that a post–COVID-19–world would involve some sort of immunization program.
The first U.S Covid-19 vaccination outside of clinical trials began December 14, 2020, kicking off the most urgent mass immunization campaign since polio shots were rolled out in the 1950s. (Park). On December 31, 2020 the World Health Organization issued its first emergency justification for a COVID-19 vaccine making Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine the first to be available for use. The emergency justification was seen as a positive step towards making COVID-19 vaccines globally available a necessary step to ending the pandemic (Park).
Since the rollout for COVID-19 vaccines, there have been questions on how the vaccine will affect immunocompromised individuals, pregnant women, how the vaccine will affect children 5through 11 years old, who’s eligible for the booster and if employers mandating the vaccine for employees is the right thing to do. Individuals who have a reduced immune response have a higher chance of a breakthrough of the SARS-CoV2 infection than the general population. A clinical pharmacist shared his thoughts regarding the vaccine for immunocompromised individuals: “The extent outcome of the mRNA vaccine in immunocompromised people is variable however immunocompromised people who receive a 2-dose mRNA COVID-19 series may enhance antibody response to help protect against COVID-19 virus. It’s been recommended that immunocompromised individuals receive the COVID-19 booster because they do not have an effective immune response the “booster” is more like helping them get to a baseline.”
Some pregnant women were hesitant to get the vaccine because pregnant and lactating women were excluded from the trials. Based on population data, if a pregnant woman gets the COVID virus it increases her chance of morbidity and the risk of preterm birth. Pregnant women who receive their COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy and decide to breastfeed provide a significantnumber of antibodies to their infant that may help protect infants from the illness (Davidson 2021).
Some parents are eager to have their children vaccinated and others are hesitant to do so. Amother of a young child and discussed the COVID-19 vaccine and her thoughts on whether or not she will vaccinate her six-year-old: “Vaccinating my child is my top priority, however I want to educate myself more and read more of the data and how it could affect my child in the long run.” The efforts to clear the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine for younger children has moved into high gear. Pfizer and BioNTech filed a request with the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a regimen of two 10-microgram doses in 5 to 11-year-old one third the amount given to those 12 and older (Sun 2021). On October 29, 2021 the FDA approved the Pfizer and BioNTech for children between 5 and 11 years old. Here are some key points for parents to know regarding the COVID-19 vaccine: the effectiveness of the vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5-11. The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children 5 through 11 who received the vaccine and no serious side effects (CDC 2021).
Lastly, the push to require the COVID-19 vaccine has cause some backlash. Companies are required to make reasonable accommodations if the employee objects to receiving the vaccine for valid reasons. Such accommodations could include the employee to work remotely or take a leave of absence. The employee could also be asked to show a negative COVID-19 test once a week per the president’s mandate. Because one has a valid medical disability or theological objection to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t mean your employer has to let you continue working under the same conditions one is used to. While discussing the COVID-19 mandate with both interviewees, both had a different outlook and opinion about it. According to the mother, the COVID-19 vaccine mandate should be in effect and no matter what people’s thoughts on it this is a huge step towards returning life to what it was before. The clinical pharmacist felt that people who work in the medical field should be required to be vaccinated. Medical staff are the front line to people who come into the ER with symptoms and signs of COVID. The COVID vaccine would protect medical staff against the virus. However, on the flip side to his statement everyone reacts differently to vaccines and everyone knows their body. Anyone who has had a severe reaction to a vaccine should be cautious and educate themselves about the COVID-19 vaccine before receiving it. The global vaccine development has accelerated in response to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccine can have a substantial impact on mitigating COVID-19 outbreaks.
AJMC. “A Timeline of COVID-19 Developments in 2020.” January 1, 2021. A Timeline of COVID-19 Developments in 2020 (ajmc.com)
Davidson, Robert. “Pregnant Women Fare Well with COVID Vaccine.” U.S. Pharmacist: The Pharmacist’s Resource for Clinical Excellence. September 1, 2021.
Park, Alicia. “The First Authorized COVID-19 Vaccine in the U.S. Has Arrived” Time, December 11, 2020. The First Authorized COVID-19 Vaccine in the U.S. Is Here | Time
Sun,Lena.“Millions of kids’ coronavirus shots ‘ready’ to go; initial doses to be shared on a population basis.” The Boston Global.October 8, 2021. https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/10/08/nation/millions-kids-coronavirus-shots-ready-go-initial-doses-be-shared-population-basis/