The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was on January 21, 2020. Since then, 16.5 million cases have been reported. 301,006 Americans have lost their lives to the virus. Around 25% of U.S. adults report difficulty paying their bills, and as of December 5, approximately 853,000 unemployment claims have been made.
We are all ready for this pandemic to be over. And a key milestone in accomplishing that has been the development and availability of a vaccine. As drug manufacturers race to provide one, and news about the pandemic continues to come out daily, we’re sure you have some questions regarding the vaccine. Below, we’ve collected some answers to common questions from trustworthy sources.
What vaccines are approved?
Right now, the Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved by the FDA. Three other vaccines are in Phase 3 clinical trials made by the following manufacturers:
These vaccines may be approved soon by the FDA. The exact timeline is unknown at this time.
What’s the difference between the Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine? The Pfizer vaccine has already been approved, whereas the Moderna vaccine is expected to be approved on December 17th, 2020. Both vaccines require two doses, and both are around 95% effective. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for ages 16 and above, whereas the Moderna vaccine is approved for ages 18 and above.
How do I get the Pfizer vaccine?
At first, supplies of the Pfizer vaccine will be limited. The company has said they can provide up to 25 million doses before the end of the year, and 100 million total vaccines by March. However, each person will require two doses for the vaccine to be fully effective. That means 100 million doses means 50 million people will be fully vaccinated. The CDC recommended that health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities be first in line to receive the vaccine since they are high-risk groups. However, it is up to individual states to decide.
If you are not an essential worker, live in a long-term care facility, or have an underlying health condition that raises your risk for COVID-19, then you may need to wait months (some estimates say early April) before you can get the vaccine. The New York Times published this calculator for roughly approximating where you might be in line, which you can view here.
How much will the vaccine cost?
No one will need to pay out of pocket for the vaccine, whether or not you have health insurance. Some clinics or pharmacies administering the vaccine may charge a small fee, but
Insurance companies will likely reimburse that fee. If you are uninsured, you can be reimbursed by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.
What are the side effects and safety risks of the Pfizer vaccine?
No severe side effects have been recorded during the clinical trials. Most commonly, reactions at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever were reported. These side effects are in line with other vaccinations, such as that for the seasonal flu. There is a health advisory suggesting anyone with a history of allergic reactions to any ingredients in the vaccine should not receive it.
Will Honeybee Health carry the vaccine?
No, Honeybee Health will not supply any of the vaccines.
If you have other questions about the vaccine, we recommend checking out this FAQ page being updated in real-time by the CDC.