Nearly 59 million people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and more than 30 million have had two doses.
After the CDC released the new guidelines for fully vaccinated people, many are eager to check their eligibility status. Knowing the difference between the vaccines, who qualifies, and what this means for the days ahead can be tricky to track.
What are the different types of COVID-19 vaccinations?
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are both an mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccine. Both require two vaccines to be fully vaccinated. Pfizer requires the two doses be at least 21 days apart and Moderna requires they be 28 days apart. According to the CDC, mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
For a closer look at how COVID-19 mRNA’s work, visit the CDC page here.
Johnson & Johnson / Jannsen is a viral vector vaccine and only requires 1 shot to be fully vaccinated. As the CDC explains, viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different, harmless virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to our cells. In treating COVID-19, the vector will enter a cell in our body and then use the cell’s machinery to produce a harmless piece of the virus that causes COVID-19. This piece is known as a spike protein and it is only found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. The cell displays the spike protein on its surface, and our immune system recognizes it doesn’t belong there. This triggers our immune system to begin producing antibodies and activating other immune cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection. At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect us against future infection from the virus that causes COVID-19.
For a closer look at how COVID-19 viral vector’s work, visit the CDC page here.
Am I eligible for a vaccine?
If you are in the following groups, then you can schedule a vaccine in Texas at a vaccination site near you:
1A: Front-line healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities
1B: People age 65+ or people age 16+ with a health condition that increases the risk of severe COVID‑19 illness
1C: People 50 to 64 years of age
School and Child Care Personnel: see the Texas Education Agency (TEA) K-12 COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ for more info.
Phases 2 and 3 are under consideration. According to Texas.gov, “Spring 2021 is the best estimate of when the vaccine will be available for the general public. It depends on vaccine production and how quickly other vaccines become available.”
Will summer be back to normal this year?
If spring continues to show downward trends in infection rates, summer 2021 could be less restricted than summer 2020 was. Individuals should continue to wear masks in public, keep distance from those who have been exposed to COVID-19 and/or are high-risk.
The more people that are vaccinated, the better prospects are for summer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 118 million doses of covid-19 vaccines have been administered, and millions more are being injected every day with either Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine or by the two-dose series made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Simone Wildes, an infectious diseases physician, said “if we can get [mass vaccinations ] done by June, July…we might be able to have a decent summer.”
What if I’ve already gotten my COVID-19 vaccine?
The vaccines for COVID-19 prevent you from getting sick. This means that you might be able to resume some of the activities you were doing before the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the CDC, the following are changes we can implement once fully vaccinated:
- You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
- You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
Hopefully, the more who get vaccinated, the quicker the days of quarantine will be behind us and we can return to day-to-day life as it was.
If each state and community continues to adhere to safety guidelines and does their part to keep their neighbors safe from the spread, we will hopefully be on track for normalcy. Here’s to expanding our “pod” in 2021!
For more information on COVID-19 and how Hospitality Health ER can help you, visit our blog and/or the COVID-19 info page. See our latest blog about the effective, same-day COVID-19 treatment, BAM, that is offered at HHER.