Students across RCMS happy over news of Covid-19 vaccine

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Photo credit Anay Bansal

Seventh-grader Anay Bansal studies online in quarantine in December. When heard about the vaccine, he said, ‘A Covid cure?! Has it been approved? When will we get out of quarantine!?’

Rishi Jagarlapudi and Steven Gu

Students and staff are excited that a 95% effective Covid-19 vaccination is on the brink of approval.

“Wow, finally this will be over!”  exclaimed Aditya Pujari, a seventh-grader at Rachel Carson Middle School. 

Students across the school and across the country have been waiting for a vaccination for the coronavirus for over nine months and it finally looks like it’s almost here. On Nov. 9, companies Pfizer and BioNtech announced that they had a breakthrough in their coronavirus studies. 

“Wait…. Did you say the vaccine has just been announced as soon to be ready?” said Gabriel Xu, a student at Rachel Carson Middle School. 

Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical company, collaborated with BioNTech, a German biotechnology corporation, to engineer a vaccination for Covid-19 that they say is 95% effective. They then set an experiment to test out the vaccine. They gave the real vaccination to half the group of people who volunteered, and saline placebo shots to the other. In total, 170 cases of the coronavirus were found, with only 8 cases found in the people who got the real inoculation, known as BNT162b2. When considering the 10 most dangerous cases, only 1 was found in the BNT162b2 group.

Following closely is Moderna, an American biotechnology company, whose vaccine is said to be 94% percent effective. 

Both vaccines enable the use of mRNA. When the vaccine is injected to a person, the mRNA gives cells the directions to make a safe “spike protein,” according to reports on how the vaccine works. The person’s immune system attacks the spike protein and learns to combat the Covid-19 virus. By practicing on a “test dummy” (the harmless spike protein), people can be prepared for the actual thing. The vaccination is yet to be approved in the United States, however other countries including Canada have already accepted the vaccination.

The government says the first vaccinations may be handed out before New Years. Healthy individuals under 65 can expect to receive the vaccine some time during April-May, while the doctors and elderly may receive the vaccine as early as December 2020.

Lufthansa Airlines has spent $5 million dollars on a terminal to distribute the vaccines all around the country. The terminal has a fleet of 19 planes, and officials say that more than 8,000 trips will be required to distribute the vaccines. 

The pandemic has caused schools to switch to online learning systems. Ritvik Kunchakuri, a seventh-grader at Rachel Carson Middle School, is looking forward to returning to school.

“It’s way more exciting than sitting at a desk 7.5 hours a day,” he said.

Students and staff alike are waiting to go and enjoy the outdoors as soon as the lockdown ends.

“[The first thing I would do is] take a trip somewhere fun,” says Mrs. Sharri Clifford, a History 7 teacher at Rachel Carson. “[A place] that I wouldn’t necessarily go to now because of social distancing.”

 

Aadit Gupta contributed to this story.