A second vaccine was approved by the FDA last week to fight COVID-19, and doses of the second drug have already started making their way to North Dakota.
As the vaccination process gets underway, here are some things you need to know.
1 Two drugs OK’d so far
Vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna have been OK’d by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Both of the drugs showed effectiveness of 90% or more in clinical trials, and both require two doses. The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses 21 days apart, for the Moderna vaccine it’s two doses 28 days apart. Two other vaccines are also in clinical trials — one of them requires just one dose while the other requires two.
2 Vaccinations already starting
The Pfizer vaccine was approved earlier this month and the first does arrived in North Dakota last week. As of Sunday, Dec. 20, there had been 6,098 doses administered — all of the Pfizer vaccine. There have been a little more than 9,000 doses received so far — 6,825 from Pfizer and 2,200 of the Moderna vaccine. So far, the state has been allocated 11,700 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 13,200 of the Moderna vaccine, for a total of 24,900 doses.
3 Who can be vaccinated?
Because there is a limited supply of vaccine available, the focus is on first vaccinating health care workers and then residents of long-term care facilities. The very first in line for the vaccine include ER staff and doctors, infectious disease specialists, nurses, anesthesia staff, primary care doctors, people who vill give out vaccines and first responders, including Emergency Medical Services workers. Residents and staff at long-term care centers will be in the next tier, along with home health workers, oral surgeons and others. As more vaccine becomes available, more providers will offer vaccination and announcements about the next priority levels will be announced.
4 Why does the CDC recommend still wearing a mask and avoiding contact with others, even after getting both doses of a vaccine?
There was surprise when the CDC announced that it would still recommend people who have been vaccinated wear a mask and keep their distance from others. Like many vaccines, the drugs created to battle COVID-19 create an autoimmune response but they might still allow the virus to pass from one person to another. Before the mask recommendation changes, more study is needed.
“While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others,” the CDC wrote on its website. “Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.”