by Michael Cleverly
The speed of the COVID-19 vaccine’s production and approval process raises questions about its safety and effectiveness. Multiple factors contributed to this speed, including governments removing red tape that companies would normally go through when producing vaccines. Normally vaccines undergo a lab research phase accompanied by three other phases outside of the lab. This time, however, companies were permitted to conduct multiple phases at the same time.
The technology used in the COVID-19 vaccines was already being developed and tested before last year. It also played a role in its speedy rollout. The two vaccines approved in the U.S. use a small piece of genetic data, messenger RNA, to make body cells create one protein of the virus. The cells then produce antibodies that recognize these surface proteins and will fight them if they appear.
Dr. Zachary Jenkins, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Cedarville University, said that because of this technology, the vaccines can’t infect recipients with COVID-19. However, recipients may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue and chills for a short time after vaccination as their immune system responds.
Allergic reactions also pose a concern for doctors. Doctors have encountered patients having allergic reactions to the vaccine. However, most of these patients do have a medical history of allergic reactions.
Most states, including Ohio, choose to stick to the recommended guidelines. Everyone getting vaccinated waits fifteen minutes so that the medical staff can assist patients if they have an allergic reaction. The Greene County Health Department helped ease the process when vaccinating front line workers by using QR codes to allow people to fill them out online while they’re waiting in line.
Dr. Thaddeus Franz, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Cedarville University, said, “By the time I got to the parking lot and got my vaccine it took twenty to thirty minutes.”
The Cedar Care Village Pharmacy has limited space for people to wait inside fifteen minutes. They plan to have people get vaccinated and wait in their cars for fifteen minutes so the staff can monitor and provide medication and help if necessary. Franz said the pharmacy does not have any of the vaccines yet, but they’re expecting to get vaccines for the Cedar Cliff School staff in the third week of February.
To prepare for how much of the vaccine they will need when they receive it, they are taking down the names of those who want the vaccine. Staying with guidelines, the vaccines will be distributed to frontline workers and at-risk populations. Since the rollout is occurring in stages, students at Cedarville University probably won’t gain access to vaccinations until late spring.
“We would love to provide the vaccine to our students, to our faculty and staff before the semester would end,” Franz said, “but we also have to adapt and be flexible if things don’t go as planned.”
Michael Cleverley is a sophomore Journalism major with an Asian Studies minor and writer for Cedars. When not studying or working on a story for Cedars he likes to write, knit and hang out with friends.