After several months of dark, unrelenting Covid-19 news, a light has shone through the dark in the form of new vaccines, the main two being the Moderna Vaccine and the Pfizer Vaccine. With these introduced, a feasible end to Covid-19 can be seen soon, which for many, brings hope. But The United States is made up of hundreds of millions of people, 328 million to be exact, and the realization is settling upon most of the general public that it isn’t likely they’ll receive a vaccine till the summer of fall.
This leads many to ask, who’s getting it first? How is the government prioritizing people? The vaccine rollout has established “priority groups,” groups of people who will be sought out to be vaccinated first. The first group, or Phase 1a, includes 24 million people. These are the people the most at risk of contracting the virus, meaning the elderly in long-term facility care, and health care personnel (doctors and nurses). Many of these people have already been vaccinated, 27 million Americans receiving their first dose by now, and 6 million fully vaccinated. Next comes Phase 1b, which includes the elderly (75 and older) and frontline essential workers (child care workers, those in food production, etc…) who have important jobs that cannot be done from home. This group is twice the size of the first, with nearly 50 million people. The third group is Phase 1c, including 129 million, which focuses on the older population ages 65-74, those who’re 16-64 and possess high-risk conditions (diabetes, obesity, and more), and other essential workers who can’t do their job at home. Phase 1 will take months, and after that will come Phase 2, which includes all people 16+ who weren’t included in Phase 1. This is where most Upper Merion students would stand. However, there are other factors to be considered in the vaccine rollout.
Pennsylvania is moving forward at a regular pace in terms of vaccination, behind about half of the other states. Currently, 7.5% of the state is vaccinated halfway, but only 2% fully. And overall, around 8% of the United States population have received their first dose of the vaccination. With this in mind, it’ll take until December for 90% of the population to be vaccinated if we move forward at this pace, which would cause herd immunity. 50% is expected in July. In Montgomery county alone, the average high school student with no underlying health conditions is still behind around 450,000 people for the vaccine, out of a total population size of about 830,000. So, comparing this data to the vaccination phases, most Upper Merion High School students should expect to be vaccinated anywhere from August to December of 2021. Right now, an exact date cannot be pinpointed, so this time frame is extremely vague.
So, for any student reading this (with no underlying health problems), unless the U.S. doubles its vaccination rate in the next month, don’t expect a vaccine until long after the school year ends.