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As the country continues its journey through the pandemic, pharmaceutical companies are creating vaccines at record paces. Under Operation Warp Speed, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the first vaccination in December 2020, less than a year after the first COVID-19 case was declared in the U.S. As of the end of January 2021, about 10.6 million Americans had received at least their first dose. Unfortunately, the country recorded its highest number of monthly deaths from the virus in the same month with over 95,000 lost Americans, up from approximately 77,000 in December.

Health and public officials encourage those most at risk to receive a vaccination before it is available to the masses. Here’s what to expect regarding how to get a vaccine and what to anticipate.

Available Vaccines

As of the end of January 2021, the FDA had approved only two vaccinations deemed safe and effective to protect people. Check out how the three life-saving vaccines differ, as explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

• Pfizer-BioNTech: To obtain the most protective results, two doses are required, 21 days apart. The vaccine proved to be 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 and is considered safe for those 16 and older.

• Moderna: The vaccine requires two doses, 28 days apart. It showed 94.1% effectiveness in clinical studies and is considered safe for those 18 and older.

• Astra Zeneca: A single shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is highly protective, reducing the chance of someone getting ill and needing hospital treatment by more than 80%.

The CDC reports that multiple potential vaccines are currently undergoing large-scale (phase three) clinical trials in the United States.

Mass Availability

According to Reuters, experts estimate that at least 70% of the roughly 330 million Americans require the vaccine before we can reach herd immunity. As developers work to up the country’s inventory and present new options, the CDC anticipates that mass availability will be possible around April of 2021.

How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

A new approach to vaccines was required to combat the widespread COVID-19 threat. Previous vaccinations triggered an immune response by introducing a weakened or inactivated virus into our bodies. Today’s mRNA concoctions work differently.

After injecting the medicine into a human’s upper arm muscle, the fluid teaches our cells how to make a protein that produces antibodies. The harmless protectant, called a spike protein, is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19 and prepares our bodies to fight off an infection.

Technology’s Role during COVID

While Americans were asked to socially distance from others, including their own family, we sought ways to keep in touch. We found solace in innovative apps and software, and creative minds used technology to document their appreciation for frontline workers. By utilizing cutting-edge technology, people found ways to ease their need for human connection remotely.

Technology played a more significant role than only relieving stress for those in quarantine. It assisted professionals like doctors and teachers in continuing their essential jobs. Check out how advancements in video-call and internet capabilities aided an uncertain nation into a brighter future.

Staying Connected

As Americans were encouraged to shelter in place, companionship between peers and family members was lacking. Fortunately, numerous software companies answered the call to beef up their support for video calls, multiplayer apps, and innovative ways to spend time together.

Concerned family members of those infected with COVID-19 could safely check-in on their progress remotely and bring some positivity while facing a lonely quarantine process.

Others could fight the boredom by joining their peers with joint movie-watching ventures, watching in-home concerts performed by their favorite artists, and enjoying conversations with their loved ones.

Virtual Health Aides

While much of the medical world’s focus shifted to curbing the effects of COVID-19 on our citizens, non-infected patients still relied on essential services. Telehealth offers an innovative way for patients to receive care for non-life-threatening problems while avoiding in-person visits to hospitals or doctors’ offices. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages this type of care to lessen the need for PPE, minimize the impact of patient surges, and reduce the exposure to ill persons.

Thanks to real-time video or telephone calls, Americans seamlessly received guidance and relief for multiple medical conditions, including:

• Physical therapy sessions.

• Mental health diagnosis and

therapies.

• COVID-19 symptom screenings.

• Coaching for chronic health

conditions.

• Receiving prescriptions for numerous ailments.

Remote Learning

Teachers and school districts were also forced to shift the traditional pace of education. While most of the country shut the doors of learning facilities, students remained in touch through online classes.

Virtual classroom lessons allowed young children to keep up with their state’s educational requirements, spend time socializing with friends, and be offered one-on-one contact with their educators for support, questions, and even therapies.

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