Pfizer vaccine approved in US Friday, we’re still hunkering down but the end is in sight

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It’s hard to know how to feel lately. We’ve been at home for nine months, but the end is in sight now that the US has granted emergency approval for the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is expected to be approved very soon, likely by the end of this week. Thanks to massive advances in science, hard work, testing and planning, Pfizer is already shipping vaccines and Moderna has doses manufactured and waiting for distribution. Both vaccines are incredibly 95% effective, surpassing requirements and expectations. Frontline workers and nursing home residents will be the first to get immunized and the rest of us should have access to the vaccines by April, according to Dr. Fauci.

At the same time, it’s likely that we’ll lose over half a million Americans to coronavirus by early next spring, surpassing US casualties in WWII. Many of us won’t be able to see family and friends in person for Christmas. Hospitals are at the breaking point and people are dying alone. Meanwhile anti-maskers are vocal and anti-vaxxers, usually the same people, are making it worse. Industries are decimated and people are struggling.

My point is that I feel conflicted and I know most of you do too. I’m so happy that the nurses, doctors and caregivers can get the vaccine soon though, and that we could be on the other side of this by summer. I wanted to quote this report from USA Today, because it has a good balance of gravity at the scope of the pandemic and the hope we have now.

The dreadful near-term outlook, which may get worse as travel and social gatherings increase during the holidays, is playing out against the backdrop of highly encouraging developments on the vaccine front.

A vaccine produced by Pfizer in conjunction with the German company BioNTech was authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday and could start getting administered Monday. Another vaccine by the Massachusetts firm Moderna may get FDA clearance in a matter of days. Both inoculations showed 95% effectiveness in late-stage clinical trials.

Other vaccines, from Johnson & Johnson and the British-based firm AstraZeneca, are in the pipeline as well.

“This really is a story of darkness and light in respect to the pandemic and how much worse we’re all hearing and we’re all expecting things to get in the month ahead, on the one hand,” said Jason L. Schwartz, assistant professor of public health at Yale University. “On the other hand, we have these two really promising, really efficacious vaccines that are going to be rolled out in the next week or two.”

Schwartz is one of four authors of a paper published in the journal Health Affairs, a group that includes Dr. Rochelle Walensky, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick as director of the CDC.

The study says implementation of the vaccines – including issues of manufacturing, distribution and public willingness to accept them – will play a bigger role in their success than their efficacy. The authors point out the vaccine program won’t be as beneficial introduced in the middle of a raging pandemic, so it would help enormously to get it under control.

With more than 16 million cases – including more than 2.5 million this month alone – the USA is the runaway world leader in coronavirus infections. In a report, the White House Coronavirus Task Force told state governors the vaccines won’t reduce spread of the virus, hospitalizations or deaths until late in the spring.

“So it’s going to be the vaccine plus mask wearing, social distancing and restrictions on large gatherings for several months to come before we’re really going to see the dent being made,” Schwartz said. “The vaccine is an incredibly valuable, desperately needed new weapon in our arsenal. But it is not the only weapon we have, and we can’t think of it as a replacement for those weapons we had all this time.”

[From USA Today]

We’ve gone this far and we can make it through the next part. I know that you’re doing the right thing, but we can still influence friends and family to get on board. I know people who were partying last month who aren’t hanging out this month. It’s progress somewhat. I’m also excited to see how the Biden administration handles the pandemic and the distribution of the vaccine. We’ll be in smart, competent hands by the end of next month. Hopefully the entire conversation will change once Trump is out and we’ll be able to be vaccinated around Easter. I’m going to focus on that to get through the holidays.

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15 Responses to “Pfizer vaccine approved in US Friday, we’re still hunkering down but the end is in sight”

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  1. OnceUponA says:

    Now is the time to truly “hunker down.”

    Hospitals and health care workers are being strained beyond reason.

    Please, please, for the sake of your own life and all you love — wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance.

    Health and happiness to all. When we can stop worrying, we can start gossiping!

  2. StrawberryBlonde says:

    I am in Canada and I too am hoping that by spring or summer my late 60s/early 70s parents can get vaccinated. It will make me feel much better. We are not doing Christmas with them or my FIL who has COPD. My parents will drop off some gifts for my 1 year old on the 19th but aren’t planning to stay. We will see them via video chat on Christmas and Christmas Eve. My brother lives alone so is permitted to choose one house to go to at Christmas. He is coming to spend Christmas Eve with us as he wants to see his nephew. We have all made it this far, we want to make sure we are all healthy and alive for next Christmas. Next Christmas, as long as everything goes well with the pandemic, will be a blow out. 🙂 That is getting me through.

  3. Abby says:

    I got to tell my 67-year-old dad this week that the vaccine is coming and he’ll get it soon. He’s in an assisted living facility, and I’ve been afraid for him all year because he’s high risk. Hanging on for a while longer. We are tightening the social circles and activities even more, even though I’m so fatigued by everything and missing loved ones. It’s not for forever, the end is in sight.

    • EMc says:

      He’ll be part of phase 1 and get vaccinated! I am on a Healthcare team and will start going into those facilities over the next month to vaccinate.

  4. Laalaa says:

    I am so conflicted about the vaccine because I am angry it didn’t come sooner, and my Grandpa passed away on Wednesday without leaving his house, meaning the covid was transmitted to him by the postman or by his next door neighbour.
    So I am angry with the world.

  5. T.Fanty says:

    We’re also almost at the end of unemployment insurance. McConnell and Pelosi (and don’t get me started on Cuomo) have played politics with the financial stability of millions and have abandoned many Americans. The callousness and indifference to the economic situation of many Americans is breathtaking. They all have blood on their hands. Now that we’re facing the end, it’s possible to see what has been lost in the pursuit of so little gain. They have wrecked the economic prospects of so many citizens and didn’t save enough people for this to be worth it. At this point, I’m just tired and angry.

    • cer says:

      No, not Pelosi’s fault. The House passed a bill back in May and McConnell has blocked it in the Senate. So either she’s supposed to hold out for everything in the original bill, and get yelled at for not doing anything. Or she tries a compromise and gets yelled at for compromising.

    • H says:

      I live in FL where NOTHING is closed. Not malls, not the theme parks, beaches, etc. Our governor is a giant tw*twaffle. Yet our economy is dragging and there has been no great recovery. There are no jobs, or if there are they are p/t and low paying.

      No one is being callous to the plight of people except certain rich morons in Congress (waves hi to Mitch). I’m no great fan of Nancy, but her bill has been on Mitch’s desk since May and he did nothing until last month. In January, hundreds of thousands of people could be evicted from their homes once those protections lapse. (This happened earlier here in FL). I lost my business because of the pandemic. And I would lose it all over again to save lives.

      Because of Biden’s election, I now have hope. If I have to stay in my house until I get the vaccination, I’ll do it. Businesses can be rebuilt and so can the economy.

  6. FancyHat says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It is truly awful how many people we’ve lost to this disease and incompetence

  7. Becks1 says:

    It’s such a relief to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m hoping that this convinces people to hunker down for the next few months, now that we have the vaccines and we know that there is an end in sight. Yes, its still months away, but I feel like its easier, from a mental standpoint at least, to follow all the restrictions etc because now we KNOW its not going to be forever.

  8. Scotchy says:

    I too am glad vaccines are rolling out. I am nervous though that people don’t seem to understand we are still in the experimental phase. Even vaccinated we need to wear masks and practice social distancing as they don’t actually know if it prevents infection, just that it prevents or minimizes symptoms. We don’t know how long that protection lasts and we won’t until most likely the end to the year 2021/2022. So yes let’s get them out there so people can stop dying but I wish leaders would be realistic about what needs to happen even vaccinated. I just worry that a false sense of protection is going to cause people to stop being safe. Siiggghh we are in for a ride either way.