What’s next for the COVID-19 vaccine?

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Vaccines have been a highly debated topic in recent years. The new COVID-19 vaccine is receiving the same amount of speculation, if not more due to its speedy development and politicization.

Addison Martin, Staff Writer

In Dec. 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention officially began distributing COVID-19 vaccinations throughout the United States. This act has brought forth conflicting views and has left people questioning what happens next.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the first phase of the vaccine was distributed strictly to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, emergency medical technicians and paramedics.

Those in Phase 2 are already being vaccinated. This phase of the vaccine in Oklahoma began in January 2021 and has already been completed in some counties.

First responders, direct health care workers, adults age 65 or older, teachers in K-12 schools, staff in homeless shelters, prisons and manufacturing facilities are all eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 2 if they choose to do so.

There are still questions as to when students, teachers and administrative staff in universities will have an opportunity to get the vaccine. This will be during Phase 4, but it has yet to be determined when it will begin.

April Lehrling, Director of Student Wellness Services at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, said there are not any official plans for if or when the university will receive the vaccine.

A recent poll on The Southeastern’s Twitter account asked followers if they could take the COVID-19 vaccine right now, would they? Out of 31 voters, about 52 percent said they would take the vaccine right now. Forty-five percent said they would not. Three percent reported they have already received the vaccine.

One reason people reject the vaccine is because of numerous myths circulating the internet. One of these claims the COVID-19 vaccine is not safe because it was too quickly developed and tested. While it was developed quickly, the COVID-19 death toll of the nation has risen above 400,000. People are hesitant to receive the vaccine, but they are also desperate for a solution.

Before his inauguration, President Joe Biden had already begun assembling a team of leaders to support specific initiatives in America. He elected David Kessler as the new head of the initiative researching and administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

Kessler has worked with companies such as Pfizer and Moderna and was a commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration where he was a vital part in distributing vaccines for the AIDS epidemic in the ’90s. It is hoped that his experience and expertise will create a sense of trust for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Despite the possible side effects, the goal of the vaccine is to create a future where people can be with their friends and family without the fear of putting them in danger. There are going to be trials and doubts, but with the added efforts of wearing masks and social distancing, we are one step closer to achieving a healthy, happy and stress-free life.

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