Vaccine Distribution Enters Phase 1-B in Fairfax

The return to Woodson in-person has been delayed once more because of the concerning rise in COVID-19 cases. The number of COVID cases and the number of Coronavirus vaccines will determine when students return to Woodson. In early January, Fairfax County officially entered phase 1B of the Coronavirus vaccine plan, which promises to vaccinate people over 65 years of age and vaccinate frontline-essential workers, such as firefighters, police officers and teachers. The vaccine will be available at no cost.

Most counties in Virginia are still in phase 1A, which will seek to vaccinate essential healthcare workers, and phase 1B comes soon after that, expanding the number of people who receive the vaccine. Teachers will be the third group to be vaccinated in phase 1B after the Police, Fire and Hazmat group and the corrections and homeless shelter group. Phase 1B will continue to vaccinate other essential-workers, people aged 65-74 and people aged 16-64 with medical conditions or disabilities that can increase catching COVID-19. 1C will continue to spread the number of vaccines to other essential workers. Vaccinating this number of people can take weeks or months, so everything past phase 1B has not been scheduled.

Graphic courtesy of Fairfaxcounty.gov.

Teachers in FCPS will get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine once they can restock on the vaccine. Since January 26, all planned vaccinations have been canceled because of a shortage. People who have received the first dose will receive the second dose, according to an INOVA announcement on January 25. More than 775,000 people got the first dose in Virginia, and 145,000 people have been fully vaccinated, as of February 4, according to the Washington Post. 

When more vaccines are available, most frontline workers will get their vaccine through “employer-based vaccination clinics” or through “their local health department or arrangements with health care systems and pharmacies,” according to dh.virginia.gov. People over 65 can get their vaccine through their health care provider. People over 65 can get vaccinated through their local health department or agreements between health care systems and the pharmacies.

The two vaccines given out in the United States are the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine; both are mRNA vaccines. Both vaccines need two doses to be effective, although the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine takes 21 days in between doses, and the Moderna vaccine takes 28 days in between doses. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe for people 16 and up, and the Moderna is safe for people 18 and up. They are also similarly powerful. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 95 percent effective, and the Moderna vaccine is 94.1 percent effective. Although, both vaccines might have lower effectiveness against new variants of COVID-19. Both might cause side effects such as injection site pain, tiredness, a headache, chills, joint pain and other uncomfortable effects. People have a small chance of an allergic reaction from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine within a couple of minutes or an hour after the injection. However, the benefits of taking the vaccine outweigh the consequences of refusing to do so.