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Here's what you need to know about a coronavirus vaccine coming to San Antonio

mySA logo mySA 12/4/2020 Taylor Pettaway
A woman participates in a COVID-19 vaccine trial this summer in Florida. With promising news on the vaccine front, the focus shifts to distribution and prioritizing who will first first receive vaccines. We think grocery workers and educators need to be near the front of the line. © Provided by mySA

A woman participates in a COVID-19 vaccine trial this summer in Florida. With promising news on the vaccine front, the focus shifts to distribution and prioritizing who will first first receive vaccines. We think grocery workers and educators need to be near the front of the line.

After 9 months of quarantine, scientist believe they have found a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus and major companies are gearing up to release it possibly sooner rather than later.

But what do we know about the potential vaccine? MySA has rounded up the answers to some questions you may have about the coronavirus vaccine.

Q: When will the COVID-19 vaccine be available?

A: It is still unclear exactly when a vaccine for adults will become available, but health officials believe the first supplies will be available by the end of the month, the Center of Disease Control said. Supplies will be limited at first, but all adults should be able to receive a vaccine by the end of 2021.

Q: Who will get the COVID-19 vaccine first?

A: Health care workers who treat COVID-19 patients are set to the first ones to receive a vaccine, including doctors, nurses, other support staff and health care professionals. After that, high priority will be given to nursing home residents, first responders, people over 65 and individuals with pre-existing conditions, University Health said Tuesday.

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Q: Who makes the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: In the United States, two companies have a vaccine ready to go: Pfzier and Moderna. Pfzier is presenting a request for emergency use authorization on Dec. 10 to the FDA and Moderna is presenting their request a week later. Both vaccines have shown "very high efficiency" for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 in clinical trials, the Department of Health and Human Services said. There are also at least three other companies that have clinical trials in progress or planned, according to the CDC.

Worldwide, there are more than 200 vaccine candidates with 48 clinical trials started in the last month, the World Health Organization said.

Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe:

A: The vaccine will be examined by the FDA for its safety and efficency in clinical trials, and Pfzier and Moderna say their formulas are safe. Side effects have been reported in the trials following the second dose that include pain at the injection site, fatigue, and aching muscles and joints in the days following the injection, USA Today said. However, the long term effects won't be known until the trials end and the research participants are monitored for years after.

Q: Where can you get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccines will be available at most major medical facilities, but in an effort to get the vaccine more readily available, the HHS is partnering with pharmacies across the country to be able to provide the vaccine. In San Antonio, stores like H-E-B, CVS, Costco, Walgreens and Walmart are all prepared to receive the vaccine for administration when it is approved.

There is also a potential for drive-thru vaccine sites in San Antonio that will act similar to the current flu vaccination sites, University Health officials said.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus live updates: A timeline of COVID-19 in San Antonio

Q:How is a COVID-19 vaccine administered?

A: The vaccine will be administered via a shot. The vaccines also will be administered in two doses— for the Pfzier vaccine the second dose comes 21 days later, and for the Moderna vaccine it comes 28 days later. The difficulty however is that both vaccines need to be kept at extremely cold temperatures of at least minus 94 degrees, Fahrenheit and distribution sites will need to either have ultra-cold-storage units or a well-developed plan to transport and administer the vaccines.

“You have several days, or several hours, depending on how you’ve thawed it out to administer,” George Hernández, president and CEO of University Health, said Tuesday. “We have to have a bar code system so we get the right vaccine to the right patient. It’s about as complicated as it gets.”

Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine free?

A: Yes, the vaccine will be free, however, some vaccine providers can charge an administration fee for giving the shot to individuals. However, the providers can be reimbursed for this fee from reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or if a patient is uninsured they can be reimbursed through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund, the CDC said.

Taylor Pettaway is a breaking news and general assignment reporter for MySA.com | taylor.pettaway@express-news.net | @TaylorPettaway

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