Combatting COVID-19

FDA approves Pfizer, Moderna vaccines

Grace May, OP-ED Editor

In the midst of a global pandemic, there’s lots of confusion and uncertainty. Many are waiting to see when or if they’ll contract the virus, and others are terrified as to what would happen if they were to develop symptoms.There have been recent advancements in research and new COVID-19 vaccinations have been developed. Currently, there are two vaccines that are being offered: the PfizerBioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. Both require a second dose a few weeks after the initial one to reinforce the first. Currently, the supply of these vaccines is limited, meaning that only long-term care facility residents and healthcare personnel are receiving these vaccines. The first vaccine in Ohio was administered Dec. 14.

Carol Youngblood, who has been a registered nurse in the recovery room at Mercy Medical Center in Canton, Ohio for 13 years, was one of the few who received this vaccine fairly early.

“I could not wait to get the vaccine and was one of the first nurses in my department to receive it,” she said. “After all I have seen in the hospital since March, I do not want to contract this virus.”

Youngblood received the Moderna vaccine, and even though it was developed fairly quickly, she was not nervous about getting it.

“I was not at all worried about getting the vaccine,” she said. “I really was not expecting to experience anything other than my arm being sore, but for a couple of days I did have headaches, chills and nausea.”

According to the CDC, these are all common symptoms of the COVID-19 vaccine and are symptoms that patients are warned about beforehand. Youngblood mentioned that these symptoms went away pretty easily with some Tylenol.

2013 Hoover alumna Emily Plaver [pictured above] was also given the opportunity to receive the vaccine. Plaver works at an orthopedic surgeon practice where the surgeons are contracted
Staff Writer Grace May Photography Emily Plaver/used with permission FDA approves Pfizer, Moderna vaccines with a hospital that is administering vaccinations.

“I was so excited to get the vaccine,” she said. “I never felt nervous about what was in it, about the side effects, or anything, I wanted it. As my boss said when we were in line to get the vaccine, ‘Right now, this is one of the most patriotic and brave things you could do. We are saving lives right now’ and I felt that.”

Plaver lives in Tampa Bay, Florida, where unfortunately, vaccines are not being rolled out fast enough for the large number of cases they have.

“Unlike other states, Florida is constantly having thousands of positive cases every day,” she said. “I am very lucky to have received my vaccine at Trinity Medical Center, who were one of the few hospitals in the area that were granted access to vaccines.”

Plaver feels that it’s very important for people to get vaccinated if they are able to right now.

“By administering this vaccine, we will be able to begin the process to return to our normal society,” she said. “ The more people that get the vaccine, the faster we return to normal.”

2016 Hoover alumnus Trent Cash, a current Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was also affected by the vaccination. However, he himself did not receive it; rather, it was his girlfriend, Elizabeth Tolar. Tolar is a registered nurse that works in the ICU.

“My ICU was turned into a COVID ICU about a year ago,” Tolar said. “The suffering related to COVID that I see on a day-today basis is honestly horrifying — it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.”

Cash and Tolar were definitely worried about her contracting the virus while at work, so they both felt the vaccine was important for her to receive.

“It [getting the vaccine] meant that she would be safe whileworking with her COVID patients,” Cash said. “It also meant that she would, at the very least, be less likely to bring the virus home, making it easier to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

Tolar actually enjoyed getting the vaccine and was excited to be able to keep others safe from the virus.

“I know that probably sounds crazy, but everyone was so nice and welcoming,” Tolar said. “Getting the vaccine itself was painless. The flu shot hurt worse. I didn’t feel a thing.”

As a result of receiving the vaccine, Tolar didn’t experience any of the symptoms the CDC mentioned either, at least until the second dose.

“With the second dose, I was fatigued and had a mild headache for half a day,” Tolar said. “Other than that, the vaccine was uneventful.”
Even though Cash hasn’t been given the opportunity to receive the vaccination yet, he plans on getting vaccinated as soon as he can.

“As a young and healthy person, I feel that it is my civic duty to get the vaccine to protect those in my community who may be more hesitant or physically unable to get the vaccine,” he said. “Plus, I look forward to being able to spend time with my friends and loved ones again.”

The vaccine is a huge step in the right direction. Being able to avoid this virus as a community will help to eliminate it altogether.

“I did my part on behalf of society and did it with pride,” Plaver said. “On that day, I was saving lives, my own, my mom’s, my grandma’s, my friend’s, stranger’s, it didn’t matter who it was, I knew I saved someone’s life that day.”