An Introduction to the COVID-19 Vaccine

Posted by on Dec 7, 2020

COVID-19 rages on in Oregon and across the nation. We are all tired of being careful, having to think and rethink every basic routine. Adapting to new realities and understanding of how we stand to contract and spread this disease. Please, give yourself a pat on the back for how compliant and diligent you have been. But keep in mind that our risk of overrunning our hospitals, killing our front-line medical workers, and harming the people we love is as high as it has ever been. The same protective measures we are all so familiar with are still our best–do not gather indoors with people outside your household, wear a mask when you leave the house, and wash your hands. We cannot afford to let our guard down, for the safety of what matters most.

Masks help contain the spread of COVID-19. We protect one another by wearing them in public spaces.

Many of our weary hearts are set on the COVID-19 vaccines that have been the focus of furious effort and scientific collaboration since the start of the pandemic. We know that widespread vaccination is the only way to permanently control this disease. Below you will find a basic introduction to the COVID-19 vaccine situation, and what we can expect from the process. This information is primarily from presentations and community Q&A sessions with the Oregon Health Authority.

What Do We Know?

Vaccines are being developed currently. Big pharmaceutical and pharmacological industry giants have consolidated work on these vaccines into a few leaders: Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca have all been in the news as being in the late stages of vaccine development.

Oregon will distribute safe, effective vaccine when available. Though we all want to save lives by finding and securing a vaccine that works for every human, the vaccine development process is rigorous, with many trials, tests, and benchmarks that must be met. Once all the hurdles are crossed and we have a vaccine that is safe and which works, it will be produced en masse and distributed around Oregon.

Clinical trials are happening now. As mentioned, this work is well underway already. Multiple rounds of

The whole world is committed to the development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.

trials have been run on multiple vaccines. Production has already started, as much as is safe, in order to get these doses out to the waiting masses.

No vaccine has been approved yet. Consider the approval the “finish line” that each vaccine producer must cross. Until every measure is met, no approval will be granted, and the vaccine cannot be distributed.

Supplies will be limited at first. It takes time to create mass doses of vaccine. Ingredients must be sourced and produced. Production itself takes time. Shipping and distributing takes time. We hope to see a steady stream of product generated and administered across the nation. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has asked for all states to work on vaccine distribution and allocation plans. Oregon’s draft plan is available now on the OHA website, click here to read through it.

Vaccines will be free. That’s it, that’s the statement! Good news for everyone, straight from the Oregon Health Authority.

 

What Is Still Unknown?

We don’t know which vaccine(s) will be granted authorization. Again, the authorization/approval process is the finish line that a developer must meet prior to shifting production into high-gear and getting vaccines out to the people.

We don’t know when an authorized vaccine will be available. Sigh. We know. (Or, well, we don’t know.)

We don’t know how many doses Oregon will receive at a time. Recent news has estimated that Oregon will receive as many as 267,000 doses sometime in the month of December. However, please take this with caution–this is an evolving situation, and we need to have our hopes high, but our guard up.

 

Vaccination Is Important! What Else Do You Need To Know?

We know that there is a lot of confusion out there about this vaccination, and fear of making a bad situation somehow worse. What do you still need to know in order to make an informed decision? We urge each person to think hard about this now, and ask the questions you need answered of your physician. In order for us to stay alive, healthy, and regain our full capacity as a society, we need people to get vaccinated, once a safe and authorized vaccination is available to them.

Leave your questions in the comments, and we will always try to track down answers for you. We will also look to share information about the distribution plan, and where you may fall on that priority list.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay strong as we finish out this difficult period in our shared history.