US Prepares To Approve A Second Covid-19 Vaccine As Cases Rise Exponentially

The FDA will meet this week to discuss approval of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine just days after Americans started receiving their first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine. 

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This Tuesday a multitude of healthcare workers and assisted living facility residents received their first dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. It’s expected that about 20 million people will receive their first shots by the end of December, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Azar also claims that healthcare officials will provide a “dashboard” with the number of Covid-19 vaccines already completed soon “so that we know exactly how we’re doing on getting shots in arms.” 

Advisers for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will also be meeting this Thursday to discuss Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, and will potentially approve it for emergency use authorization. As of right now it’s expected that the FDA will approve Moderna’s vaccine as it’s already proven to be just as effective as Pfizer’s in clinical trials. Vaccine advisers working for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will also meet this weekend to discuss the next phase of distribution once Moderna’s vaccine is approved. 

“It looks to be roughly 95% effective at preventing disease, including 100% effective at severe disease, about 95% effective in preventing disease in people who are over 65, across different ethnic backgrounds, racial backgrounds,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA’s vaccine advisory group, who went on to claim how this second vaccine couldn’t have come at a better time considering the US has nor surpassed 300,000 Covid-related deaths. 

“America has reported an average of more than 212,000 new Covid-19 cases every day this week.”

The pandemic is still far from over despite these vaccine advancements. The federal government has still yet to strengthen any health and safety procedures to help curb the spread and is instead continuing to leave it up to the states. While President-elect Joe Biden claimed that he will enforce a nationwide shutdown of at least six weeks to help minimize the spread, he won’t take office for another month, and the amount of new cases likely to appear in that time with the holidays is staggering. 

Hospitals across the country are struggling to support the new influxes of cases everyday, for example, Los Angeles County as a whole reported that they have less than 100 intensive care unit beds remaining; an alarming announcement coming from the nation’s most populated county. 

“We must all work together to prevent as many hospitalizations and deaths as possible while we wait for the COVID-19 vaccine to be widely available. I ask that everyone stay strong and focus all efforts to stop the surge,” said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer in a statement. On the other side of the nation in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio claims that the hospitalization rates are “not good,” and an “indicator of the bigger problem we’re still facing and we’re going to be fighting for weeks now.” 

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“This may be the most difficult time yet in our struggle with Covid-19, especially with the holidays approaching. Until the vaccine is available to everyone, we must continue working to protect one another.”

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Experts have been warning Americans for weeks that they should remain home and avoid all travel this holiday season, and that includes domestic travel to local family members homes as well. Governors across the Northeast and Midwest encouraged their residents to double down on safety measures this holiday season, however, they didn’t actually make any new policies that would enforce that “doubling down.” 

According to Covid tracking data, more than 4 million Americans spent Thanksgiving away from home; 1.6 million of those individuals traveled out of state, despite the CDC’s urgent warnings against that. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report this Tuesday that revealed nearly 180,000 children were diagnosed with Covid-19 between November 26th and now; this brings the total number of children in the US who have contracted the coronavirus to 1.6 million since the pandemic began. The CDC attributes these demographics rise in case numbers to indoor gatherings that young people are continuing to participate in. 

Experts also claim that the reopening of schools hasn’t proven to lead to massive spikes in cases, however, the lack of testing available for students and teachers is an issue. The Rockefeller Foundation claims that students and teachers participating in in-person classes should be tested at least once a week. More tests are being sent out as the vaccine rolls out as well, however, as we know America needs to make a massive change in the way they’re handling the pandemic if they want it to slow down at all before everyone has the chance to be vaccinated.