The current pandemic: to be or not to be vaccinated?

Depiction of a coronavirus vaccine vial.

The Covid vaccine is one of the most crucial ways we are going to combat the spread of the virus and diminish our cases. Since its official rollout on December 14, around 250 million vaccinations have been administered, with around 107 million now being fully vaccinated in the US (1).

As for Massachusetts, around 6.6 million doses have been given with 2.7 million now being fully vaccinated (2). Our state is leading in vaccinations, along with states like Maine, California, Connecticut, and Vermont. These are the states that have vaccinated at least half of their population or more. 

With the outdoor mask mandate now letting up and Massachusetts just recently releasing their upcoming Covid-19 phase dates, it seems like we are slowly going back to normal. 

More and more things will be opening. And more and more events like concerts and festivals will be allowed to run again. A lot of us have been missing this normalcy. You may have been missing it, too. If you have and are ready to jump right back, I highly encourage you to start your vaccination journey.

The vaccines are continuously being recorded and administered for any new developments or issues. However, the science is sound. They have worked hard on these vaccines and I don’t believe they should be villainized. Just like previous vaccinations, this process is normal. And although they are now common and accepted, every vaccination has gone through this process to get to where it is today. 

As discussed in one of my previous articles, Johnson & Johnson began to have a few cases of blood clotting in women users ages 18 to 48 (3). Although it was only around six cases, it was still taken very seriously. 

The pause on the J&J vaccination has now been lifted. It is now being offered, just with the additional warning of a rare but possible blood clotting disorder. 

Although the J&J vaccination is convenient in the way it only takes one dose, I would personally recommend Moderna or Pfizer. 

The Moderna vaccine is similar to Pfizer in its functionality. It also comes with similar side effects. As for the efficacy, “[Moderna is] 94.1 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infection in people with no evidence of previous COVID-19 infection” (3). Its efficacy does drop to 86.4 percent for users 65 years of age or older (3). 

Pfizer is the most common vaccine out of the three. According to Yale Medicine, “[Pfizer is] 95 percent [effective] in preventing COVID-19 in those without prior infection” and is “equally effective across a variety of different types of people and variables, including age, gender, race, ethnicity, and body mass index (BMI)—or presence of other medical conditions” (3). 

As for the virus mutations that have come up, Pfizer and Moderna are reportedly the most effective when it comes to combating variants B.1.1.7 (which was found in Great Britain) and B.1.351 (found in South Africa). There have not been enough studies done to correlate J&J’s efficacy against these variants, however that is being closely monitored. 

The CDC constantly posts updates to their website. They are great at keeping us informed. I would highly recommend keeping an eye out on the updates of these vaccines' efficacy against these new virus mutations, and just overall educating yourself on the vaccine that you would prefer to get.

  1. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/01/28/960901166/how-is-the-covid-19-vaccination-campaign-going-in-your-state

  2. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-covid-19-vaccination-data-and-updates

  3. https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/covid-19-vaccine-comparison

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