Science Says Sunday – COVID-19, Vaccines, and Why You Should Mentally Prepare to Keep Wearing Your Mask

Weโ€™re on the eve of ๐Ÿฆƒ week today. More than 1 million people passed through US airports Friday, with more anticipated in the upcoming days. Some may be traveling because they couldn’t cancel their plans in time or afford to cancel at all. Others, may be excited about news of a vaccine, with some news sources citing availability as early as late December.

While it is true that we have very encouraging news about the Pfizer and Moderna ๐Ÿ’‰s (95% effective against SARS-CoV-2!!), the fact is that it will be months (no earlier than spring at min) before you and I may be able to get access to any doses (and we will each need 2 doses), unless we happen to be among those for who emergency use will the authorized in the coming months.

So, what does that mean? While we definitely see the finish line and the cavalry is on itโ€™s way, several things have to remain in place in order to get the majority of people in the US safe. This means, through 2021, but especially this and next month.

1. We have to continue to distance, wash our ๐Ÿงค, wear our ๐Ÿ˜ท s, and avoid indoor spaces.
2. Our ICUโ€™s are filling up and our health care workers are falling ill (and in isolation) or are out due to close contact (in quarantine), so that means there are not only fewer ๐Ÿ›๏ธs, but also fewer staff to take care of people who need those ๐Ÿ›๏ธs.
3. Thus, we must, must, prioritize sticking to our household members only for the foreseeable future. That includes ๐Ÿฆƒ and most likely ๐ŸŽ… + New Years. I’m sorry. I know weโ€™ve had a focus on ๐Ÿฆƒ only, but the reality is, weโ€™re in deep trouble for weeks to come.
4. Once a ๐Ÿ’‰ is available for the majority of the population, we will still need everyone to get it so that all can be protected.

To get people vaccinated, we need to address the ๐Ÿ˜ in the room. There is a lot of uncertainty about the ๐Ÿ’‰, the biggest being mistrust. People donโ€™t feel safe taking a vaccine that was created so quickly. I get it. The unknown is scary. In this case, one of the reasons these 2 ๐Ÿ’‰s were able to be created so quickly is bc the template for the key component needed to make these ๐Ÿ’‰s work had been started yrs earlier when scientists worked on designing a ๐Ÿ’‰ for MERS. The groundwork had been laid years prior. It’s phenomenal that scientific work done previously led to success now! I’m linking articles to help explain further, and will continue to post information about the vaccines in the coming days, but for now, please, please keep 1-4 above in mind and practice 1 and 3 as much as possible.

Two articles I found super useful in explaining what happened to help make the two vaccines so successful are:

  1. The tiny tweak behind COVID-19 vaccines: https://cen.acs.org/pharmaceuticals/vaccines/tiny-tweak-behind-COVID-19/98/i38
  2. Politics, Science and the Remarkable Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/21/us/politics/coronavirus-vaccine.html?referringSource=articleShare

There are great Instagrammers that have clear information about vaccines too.

  1. Jessica Malta Rivera: https://www.instagram.com/jessicamalatyrivera/
  2. Science Says Sam: https://www.instagram.com/science.sam/
  3. Laurel Bristow: https://www.instagram.com/kinggutterbaby/
  4. Kizzmekia Corbett (Virologist who helped work on Moderna vaccine!): https://www.instagram.com/kizzyphd/

All three are phenomenal science communicators, which means they are communicating accurate science that is easy to take in and to understand. Highly recommend all three!

Thank you all for your continued vigilance, for your sacrifices, and most of all, for helping us all work together to make sure that we get through this winter and are able to be with our loved ones once these vaccines are available for us all.

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