Vaccine Updates

Samantha Ramirez, Writer

Following the rise of the coronavirus in March of 2020, our lives had been turned upside down. But now, some of the normalices of life prior to the coronavirus have returned. We are able to go to school, hangout with extended family and friends, enjoy a meal at a restaurant, etc. Largely to thank are vaccines, social distancing measures, and face masks. Since the release and approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 in December of 2020, many advances have been made, as well as some setbacks.

As of now, three COVID-19 vaccines are available in California, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson; Pfizer and Moderna requiring two doses approximately 3 weeks apart and Johnson and Johnson only requiring one dose. Vaccines are available to all Californians, ages 12 and up, completely free of charge, regardless of immigration status or insurance coverage.  Though as of now, Pfizer is the only vaccine that has been proven safe and effective for children 12 and up. The vaccines yield minor side effects such as soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site, and fatigue, nausea, headache, muscle pain, etc. Booster shots are also now available and highly recommended. Recipients are able to mix and match; or get a booster shot that is a different brand than their original vaccine. 

On October 25th, Moderna has recently reported that it’s COVID-19 vaccine has shown to generate a strong immune response in children ages 6-11 through a clinical trial. The trial involved 4,753 participants from the age of 12 to under the age of 12 who received half the dosage of the vaccine given to adults (two 50 microgram doses of the vaccine). Moderna reported that typical side effects from said vaccine include fatigue, headache, fever, and pain at the injection site. Though vaccines have been made available and proven safe for those over 12 years old, our younger generation remains vulnerable to the coronavirus until vaccinations are made available to them. Thankfully this process has been made possible by Pfizer on November 2, 2021. The CDC has given it’s final okay on the Pfizer vaccine for ages 5-11, who will receive one third of the dosage given to teens and adults. Moderna still awaits its approval. 

Making vaccines available is only one facet in the extermination of coronavirus, another being actually enforcing said vaccines for those who it is deemed necessary for. Over three months ago, Governor of California, Gavin Newsom implemented a mandate where government workers are to be fully vaccinated or subjected to weekly coronavirus testing, unless they have religious or medical exemption. However, the mandate is being largely ignored, and workplaces are struggling with low vaccination rates as well as a failure to test employees regularly. Given the struggle to comply with the mandate, workplaces are imposing deadlines upon their employees to show proof of vaccination or face unemployment.