A breakdown of the COVID-19 vaccines


Christian Emmer/DiscoverSociety

The state of South Dakota ranks third by percentage of population vaccinated behind Alaska and New Mexico.

Taylor Schmitz, Staff Writer

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the infamous nationwide shutdown, we can look at the progress we have made regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. One monumental step that has been achieved is the development of three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Here is all you need to know about the protective weapons against the deadly virus:

  1. Pfizer

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is recommended for people aged 16 years and older and consists of two shots, 21 days apart. Some immunity will begin to develop 12 to 14 days after the first vaccine, however, data shows that you will not hit the 90% to 95.6% protection mark until a week or more after your second dose. The side effects include typical changes you would notice upon receiving any other shot and usually start within a day or two of getting the vaccine. The most common side effects consist of soreness, redness and swelling at the site of the injection as well as tiredness, muscle pain, headache, chills, fever and nausea.

  1. Moderna

The Moderna vaccine is similar to the Pfizer vaccine in that it includes two doses, but instead received 28 days apart. The Moderna vaccine is recommended for people aged 18 years and older and has the same side effects as the Pfizer vaccine that also tends to go away within a few days. The clinical trials indicate that the vaccine is 94.1% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who receive two doses and who had no evidence of being previously infected.

  1. Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is the most recent vaccine development. The main difference between it and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is that it is only one shot. This vaccine is recommended for people aged 18 years and older and the side effects are also the same as the other two vaccines. The mostly mild to moderate effects tend to show up within seven days of getting vaccinated and are more common in people 18 to 59 years old compared to people 60 years and older. The vaccine was 66.3% effective in clinical trials and people had the most protection two weeks after getting vaccinated. One of the most promising aspects of this vaccine is that it has high efficacy at preventing hospitalization and death in people who get sick. No one who got COVID-19 at least four weeks after receiving the vaccine had to be hospitalized. Early evidence suggests that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine might also provide protection against asymptomatic infection as well.

So, how many people have received a vaccine and when will they be available to the rest of us? As of March 19, 2021, 23% of the U.S. population has been vaccinated. South Dakota specifically is 29% vaccinated with 256,112 people receiving their first dose and 152,321 receiving their second. So far, the state has recently passed the 1D phase of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution schedule which consists of people 65 years and older, people with underlying medical conditions under the age of 65, high-risk residents in congregate settings and high-risk patients with the following conditions; dialysis, post-transplant, and active cancer. The 1E stage has now begun which includes fire service personnel and public-facing workers in essential and critical infrastructure. All others 16 years and older can expect to receive their vaccines anywhere from May to December. To find out more about South Dakota’s COVID-19 phases and vaccine availability visit: https://covid.sd.gov/

It has been a year of isolation, heartache and boredom during the COVID-19 pandemic, but now we can finally start to see the light at the end of the tunnel as more medical developments continue to progress. Many of us desperately want to get back to the “normal life” we once took for granted and the three promising vaccines are one big tool we can utilize in order to do so.