COVID-19 vaccines continue to become more accessible


Emma Coppolo, Staff writer

With three FDA-approved vaccines, more and more people are becoming eligible each day to receive their COVID vaccinations. The three vaccines available currently are Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
According to the CDC, the Pfizer vaccine is 95 percent effective after two doses 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine is 94.1 percent effective after two doses 28 days apart. Johnson & Johnson only requires one dose, but it is also only projected to be 85 percent effective.
That being said, receiving any one of these is an incredible opportunity. Unfortunately, there have been many disparities in who has been able to get vaccinated based on region. Vaccines from the three companies have been distributed to each state, but states have not had equal supplies delivered and have had varying success in distribution.
States like New Hampshire, North Dakota and Rhode Island have been quite efficient in ad ministering upwards of 86 percent of the vaccines allocated to each state, respectively. States such as Alabama, Alaska and Mississippi, though, have been less successful, having administered only around 63-65 percent of their vaccines.
Throughout the United States, approximately 1 in 4 adults has been vaccinated.
As production and distribution efforts have been improved, Pennsylvania has finally moved into Phase 1B. This means that people working in congregate settings, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, clergy and other essential support for houses of worship, public transit workers and education workers are now able to receive their vaccinations.
On April 12, Pennsylvania will enter Phase 1C. Governor Wolf had planned for all residents of PA to have access to COVID vaccines by April 19, but this was successfully moved forward to April 13.
With these state-wide changes occurring, Mercyhurst has opened up vaccination scheduling to students and faculty. Vaccines will be delivered on a first-come-first served basis, so not every student or faculty member interested will be able to get their vaccine. That said, the university has received a substantial number of vaccines, and PA is ahead of schedule in vaccinations.
Vice president for Student Life and pandemic officer, Laura Zirkle, Ph.D., sent an email updating students about vaccine availability on April 5. In an update on April 7, she provided students with more information about an on-campus clinic happening on April 13.
This is the second wave of vaccines being offered by the university, the first being for candidates of Phase 1A. It is likely that more opportunities will arise during Phase 1C and after. Additionally, Mercyhurst has launched an initiative to record all vaccinated individuals on campus to gauge the vaccination rate. This way, the team in charge of COVID precaution measures can assess the state of campus and act accordingly.
Links to reporting mechanisms can be found on the HUB website, as well as the Resilience and Resolve webpage. Here, students, faculty and staff can upload documentation proving their vaccination, regardless of whether they received their second dose yet. Those who have not been vaccinated yet can also report their interest.
The last three semesters of school have been unlike any before; every student and faculty member has been forced to make difficult sacrifices on- and off-campus. Hopefully, this system will allow restrictions to be lessened as more and more of the campus population becomes less at-risk.
“Everyone needs and should be afforded the opportunity to access the vaccine as soon as possible,” acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Alison Beam, said.
As the situation is constantly changing, the best course of action is getting vaccinated as soon as it is available to help Mercyhurst, and the world, in returning to normalcy.