COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Begins in Oregon


Christian Perez

Senior Christian Perez wears a mask.

Alex Roy, Staff Writer

 In January 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was noted in the United States. Soon after, testing facilities appeared all over the country, many in healthcare buildings like hospitals or urgent care buildings. 

The testing for COVID-19 is known to be uncomfortable. A swab is put into your nose to collect nasal fluid for testing. The process lasts less than a minute, and the uncomfortable feeling goes away quickly. There is also a new test where the person getting tested spits in a cup and is submitted to a lab. 

“The test felt like the swab was touching my brain,” senior Brian King said. 

Throughout the entirety of the pandemic, there has been talk of a vaccine. But that did not seem like a reality until late 2020 when Pfizer and Moderna announced that their vaccines had both been tested and worked well. According to the CDC, the effectiveness of the Moderna vaccine is 94.1% and the Pfizer vaccine is 95%.  

As of January 2021, vaccines were distributed to all 50 states and the process of massive vaccination began. In Oregon, the vaccines are being distributed to different groups of people depending on priority.  

“Phase 1A that is typically frontline health care workers that are having by frontline it’s those that have direct contact with COVID-19 patients. Secondarily being those that support frontline health care delivery,” Tom West, executive account manager at Kaiser Permanente said.     “They’re gonna then prioritize folks over age 75. And then, teachers, and support staff so that it can start to reopen schools. From there, then they’re going to be at the same time they’re also working on folks that live in care facilities, assisted living nursing homes are happening at the same time.” . 

According to the CDC’s website the two vaccines that are authorized and recommended are the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines, both of which are two shot vaccines. There are also three more vaccines in progress of being authorized; those are AstraZeneca, Janssen, and the Novavax vaccines. 

   The vaccines that are currently authorized have been questioned for their effectiveness but many reports have contradicted this. 

“As far as the clinical effectiveness of the two they’re nearly identical. Both Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine, are, I think 94-95% effective respectively. Both have had very few side effects,” West said. Now there are new strains and mutant strains of COVID in places like the U.K, Brazil and South Africa that are highly transmissible. However, according to an article by USA Today titled, “What are all the new COVID-19 variants and how dangerous are they? Here’s everything you need to know”, both authorized vaccines work against these new strains. 

There is controversy over who should be first to get the vaccine, but everyone is recommended to get the vaccine at some point.

“At this point the only folks that they’re not recommending get the vaccine, or to, to take pause before they get the vaccine are folks that have had prior anaphylaxis to medications,”  West said., “Folks with food allergies even severe you know seafood, you know, peanut and things are not at higher risk”. 

The vaccines have not been approved for children under sixteen, but testing is currently underway.

    Distribution of the vaccine has been an issue and there has been some controversy with distribution and supply and demand. 

“In the current models, they’re looking to set up more mass vaccination sites that would be set up seven days a week and operate from 6am until 9pm,” West said. 

Once everyone is vaccinated and herd immunity is reached, we will have to sustain it. According to the CDC’s website researchers won’t know if this will work until more testing is done. 

   The new COVID-19 vaccines sound promising, but still have a few issues. Some people are just happy to have a vaccine and have something that sounds promising after almost a year that felt like eight. 

Teachers and other educators are looking forward to getting their vaccine so school can get back to normal eventually.

“I am very thankful that we finally have some vaccines which appear to be effective and safe. People are at much greater risk of death or long-term medical condition if they catch COVID-19 then if they are vaccinated. I plan on getting my vaccine when it becomes available,” math teacher Michael O’Brien said.