COVID-19 vaccine distribution has begun


Abby Vickers

After many months of quarantining through the year of 2020, there are now two COVID vaccines available for public use approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The first vaccine was authorized on Dec. 11. Manufactured by Pfizer Inc., the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be 95% effective against the virus. The vaccine is recommended for people 16 and older, and patients who take it will have to get two separate shots, 21 days apart, in a muscle in their upper arm.

The second vaccine that has been approved is the Moderna vaccine that was issued on Dec. 18. The ModernaTX Inc. vaccine has proven to be 94.1% effective against the coronavirus.

Recommended for people 18 and older, Moderna’s vaccine is also given in two separate shots in the patient’s upper arm, but instead the shots are given 28 days apart instead of 21 in the case of Pfizer’s vaccine.

Both vaccines have limited side effects such as pain and swelling in the arm the shot was taken in. Less common side effects for patients may include fever, chills, tiredness, headaches, or other flu-like symptoms throughout the rest of their body after receiving either vaccine.

Both vaccines are mRNA vaccines. This type of vaccine basically instructs cells to make a harmless “spike protein” that can counteract and help bodies become more immune to the harmful spike proteins found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The coronavirus vaccines began to be distributed in stages to the public throughout the last weeks of December and will continue to be distributed through 2021 according to the following FDA schedule:

  • The first stage of people to get the vaccine include healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.
  • The second stage of people to get the vaccine are frontline essential workers and patients that are 75 or older.
  • The third stage of people to get the vaccine include 65-75 year old patients, 16-64 year old patients with underlying medical conditions, and other essential workers. 

As the year goes on, more and more of the public will be able to get the vaccines. More information is available at and