By December 2020, the US had reported approximately 16 million cases of COVID-19. That figure continues to grow and households are still being urged to do everything they can to look after themselves and others as we head into winter.
For many Americans, this has been especially difficult due to the rising levels of unemployment and the knock-on effect that has on people’s healthcare plans. Likewise, the inability to see others is causing a mental health crisis unseen in US modern history.
But we seem to be turning a corner. As drug manufacturers raced to provide a solution to the growing pandemic, Pfizer (of Viagra fame) delivered. And while we do understand the reservations some of you may have, we want all our clients to appreciate the importance of the vaccine. That is why we have answered some of your most common questions below.
What is the Pfizer vaccine?
When most people refer to ‘the vaccine’, they are referring to Pfizer’s. This was the drug first approved in the UK and is now gaining momentum globally – including here.
It is about 95% effective and co-produced by Pfizer’s partner, BioNTech. The Phase 3 trials included a group of 42,000 people and the results show that it appears to be effective regardless of the recipient’s age, sex and ethnicity.
As it is a two-shot vaccine, it is important to understand that only having one of the doses will not protect you against coronavirus.
Are there other vaccines?
Yes. Pfizer was the first vaccine to get US authorization, but on December 17th 2020, Moderna also won the approval of the FDA. At the time of writing, these are the only two approved solutions. However, this could change.
There are currently two possible vaccines in Phase 3 clinical trials, made by the following manufacturers:
- AstraZeneca – Otherwise known as the Oxford-Astra vaccine, it is predicted to be ready by Jan/Feb 2021.
- Janssen – Produced by Johnson & Johnson, the Janssen Phase 3 trials are still underway with no date set for general release.
What is the Moderna vaccine?
Like Pfizer, Moderna consists of RNA molecules encased in lipid nanoparticles. The RNA in both vaccines encodes a slightly modified form of the virus. Once taken up by the cells, the vaccine is able to trigger an immune response.
Unlike Pfizer, Moderna’s vaccine was developed in collaboration with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Additionally, it does not need to be stored in a freezer at -70°C like Pfizer.
Instead, Moderna can be stored in a freezer at -20°C for six months, making it easier to transport. This has had no impact on success though, as the immunity rate is approximately 94%.
How do I get the Pfizer vaccine?
Right now, the Pfizer vaccine is limited, so do not panic if you cannot access it immediately from your local doctor. Pfizer themselves have already committed to up to 25 million doses before the end of the year, and 100 million total vaccines by March.
The strategy is to treat essential workers along with the most vulnerable first, and then work our way towards the general populace. This could mean that you need to wait until early April before you are able to get vaccinated.
The final decision is up to individual states. However, it is best to assume that your state will act according to the CDC guidance.
Are there any side effects?
There have been no serious side effects recorded during the clinical trials. However, mild symptoms include:
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
Also, after an allergic reaction from two health workers in Alaska, there are concerns that people who suffer from extreme allergic reactions should not take the vaccine.
The situation mirrors similar events in Britain; two healthcare workers in the UK also suffered serious allergic reactions. Both recovered after an injection of epinephrine, the typical treatment for anaphylaxis, shortly after.
This is a discussion still being had, so there is no need to jump to conclusions regarding any allergies you may have. Instead, consult your doctor close to the time of your vaccination and continue to monitor the latest updates concerning vaccinations.
How much will the vaccine cost me?
Medix will not be stocking the vaccine. However, we are able to say that no US citizen will be required to pay out of pocket for it. This is regardless of whether or not you have health insurance.
On October 28th 2020, the Trump administration announced that all vaccines will be available at no cost to Americans. There may be an administration cost from the pharmacy you visit, but insurance companies will reimburse that fee back to you. If you are uninsured, you can be reimbursed by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.
There is therefore little reason for any US citizen not to be vaccinated. After all, if solutions like these are not adopted en masse, there is a very real possibility that your home lives could be permanently disrupted and livelihoods changed forever.
Reach out for any assistance
While we don’t stock the vaccine, we are still delivering your much-needed medication. We understand that the winter months might make it hard to refill your prescription, so we are doing our best to deliver affordable medicine to your door.
Do not suffer in silence. If you are in need of medication and would like to hear how we can help, get in touch on 1-866-500-6633 (toll-free phone number) or +44 1438 500111 (international phone number). Alternatively, feel free to request a callback.