After nearly a year of facing the challenging mystery of the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears relief is on the horizon. On December 11 and 18, the FDA granted emergency use authorization to the two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

These vaccines are a turning point in the pandemic and give people age 16 years and older the opportunity to be vaccinated ― a breakthrough offering fearful and exhausted Americans a collective sigh of relief.

There finally is light at the end of the tunnel, but as with anything “new,” there may be some reservations about side effects, efficacy, and what this means for the future of America. Here are a few things you should know when considering vaccinations.

These vaccines are providing hope in a time of despair. Various limitations from the research studies are worth mentioning, but they should not negate usage. Both vaccines appear equally effective within all ethnic and racial groups. There are some reports of lower efficacy with the Moderna vaccine in age groups of 65 and older, but that may be due to a smaller sample size in studies. Research studies were not completed to demonstrate the safety in pregnant or lactating women; however, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ suggests the vaccine not be withheld if a woman is within a priority group, such as frontline healthcare workers or those with high-risk underlying comorbidities.

Both vaccines demonstrate outstanding efficacy claims to prevent symptomatic COVID infection. Healthcare systems are working diligently to follow the strict storage requirements while effectively administering doses of the vaccine. While the length in durability of protection is unclear, the immediate protection is one step closer to overcoming the pandemic. Hope is indeed on the horizon.

We strongly encourage vaccinations. Please contact a member of the Chelko team if you have questions or need assistance getting your plan members vaccinated.