A Closer Look Into the COVID-19 Vaccines

Having only been released to the public for a short while the COVID-19 vaccines are now available to everyone ages 16 and up for emergency use. The FDA provides a PDF infographic explaining the transition of the vaccine from research to emergency use authorization. The three most commonly administered vaccines are Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson (Janssen). The CDC provides tons of helpful information on each of the three vaccines and data on the administration of the vaccine.

Each of the three vaccines uses similar technology but have difference’s in doses, wait time in between doses and age of eligibility. Messenger RNA (mRNA) is the key ingredient in the makeup of the vaccines. mRNA is a single-strand of RNA molecule that is equivalent to a strand of DNA in a gene. The mRNA version of RNA leaves the nucleus of the cell and moves to the cytoplasm that produces proteins. These types of RNA molecules are already found in the cells of a gene. The DNA of one gene can be translated into an mRNA molecule that will produce a specific protein. Different types of RNA molecules exist in DNA cells and some small RNA molecules are involved in regulating gene expression. This information is provided by The National Human Genome Research Institute. The infographic below gives more information on each vaccine and what the vaccine does in the body to fight against COVID-19.

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Infographic with information based on the CDC website regarding the vaccines. (Grace Jones)

Using the data set provided by the CDC website it is easy to compare which vaccine was most commonly administered across the United States. After sorting the data and putting it into different graphs it is easier to compare the numbers. The first two charts look into the administration and distribution of the three vaccines in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. The third chart looks at all 50 states and shows the amount of fully vaccinated residents based on each vaccine. The last chart is a table that focuses on the age of fully vaccinated people from each state. To take a closer look at the charts visit this website

College students are jumping at the chance of receiving the vaccination. There is currently a waitlist to receive the vaccine at Texas State. Texas State has sectioned off a portion of the LBJ Student Center and dedicated it to administering the vaccines. The vaccines are appointment-based, but they also offer time slots for walk-ins. Before the vaccine is administered, paperwork is filled out by the student, and then the student is checked in and then waits in line to receive the vaccine. When receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, there will be a data analyst that will record the admission of the vaccine this is how the CDC can compile data on each state. Texas State has made it accessible to receive the vaccine for all students and staff at each campus. Below are some pictures of what the vaccination site looks like at Texas State and people after they received the vaccine.

Here is a 360 tour of the vaccine event at Texas State. Due to patient confidentiality, the rooms are empty but still gives an idea of the flow of the event. 

360 tour of the vaccine event at Texas State in the LBJ Student Center. Due to patient confidentiality, the rooms are empty but still gives an idea of the flow of the event. 

Now that vaccines are available to the public signing up is easy. To sign up for Texas State’s vaccine admission and learn more about the vaccine scan the QR code. Texas State offers vaccine sites for the main campus in San Marcos and the Round Rock campus. 

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To sign up and learn more about the vaccine at Texas State scan QR code. There is currently a waitlist for the next event on May 12th. 

With the vaccine event at Texas State being all booked up there are other places to receive the vaccine around the San Marcos area. All local pharmacies are administering the vaccine. President Joe Biden said that 90% of all Americans should be within 5 miles of a vaccination center. There are 11 locations in San Marcos and if those aren’t available then the surrounding areas of New Braunfels, Kyle, Buda, and Austin also have locations. Not all three vaccines are available at every place and most places require an appointment. Below is a map of places that administer the vaccines it includes the address, whether it’s appointment-based, and the type of vaccine they provide. 

H-E-B is one of the most convenient places to receive the vaccine in San Marcos with two locations. The West Hopkins Street H-E-B is right by campus giving easy access to students living on and around campus. This H-E-B also allows walk-ins during the week at specific times. The East Hopkins Street H-E-B is a bigger location and may have more types of vaccines available than the smaller H-E-B. There are also two sets of CVS Pharmacies and Walgreens located in San Marcos that offer the vaccine.

Pro’s to the COVID-19 Vaccine

With the COVID-19 vaccine being fairly new people are eager and also hesitant to receive the vaccine at this time. The vaccine is still said to be used for emergency use by the FDA. However, people are jumping at the chance to have some normalcy back and to keep their family safe. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine lowers the chance of contracting the virus. The CDC says that the vaccine will help lessen the effects of COVID-19 if contracted. People that receive the vaccine are more likely to be asymptomatic if COVID-19 is contracted. The CDC recommends waiting 90 days after having COVID-19 to get vaccinated. Receiving any vaccine is a choice that each individual has to make for themselves based on their health and lifestyle. Two college students speak on why they received the COVID-19 vaccine. Michelle Khajeh received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine before the production was halted on April 12th. Michelle talks about receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, “hopefully nothing will happen I am young and healthy”. The second student is a nursing major at The University of Arkansas who administers the COVID-19 vaccine in the town of Fayetteville. Annamarie Monaghan received the Pfizer vaccine in January when it was released.

Two college students explain why they wanted to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Michelle Khajeh a student explains obligation to protect her family members by receiving the vaccine. Nursing student at The University of Arkansas, Annamarie Monaghan explains her experience with the vaccine.

Possible Con’s with Receiving the Vaccine

Vaccines, in general, aren’t for everyone whether it be health concerns, beliefs, or hesitation. Because the vaccine is so new many people are waiting to receive the vaccine until more testing is done on the possible side effects. The FDA states that the vaccine is for emergency use at this time. This means the FDA doesn’t fully approve of the vaccines but because of the urgency of the pandemic, they put in place the EUA so that the vaccine can be accessed and used. The FDA has provided a video explaining what emergency authorization means.

Video on EUA provided by the FDA

Due to the vaccine not being fully approved many people are waiting till it is fully approved by the FDA. Chris Phillip a naturalist, activist and entrepreneur is hesitant about receiving the vaccine at this time. Chris’s reasoning for this decision is, “I believe the body is capable of creating natural immunity”. Chris believes natural remedies can help fight the COVID-19 virus as a replacement for the vaccine. Although Chris trusts in natural medicine, he also agrees with the use of some pharmaceuticals. The vaccine not being one he approves of using or receiving. Chris is wary of the mRNA ingredients that enter the DNA and the people behind the manufacturing of the vaccine. It is important to make the decision of receiving the vaccine for one’s self and body. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and is encouraged to do their research on the vaccines before receiving them. 

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