BYU students could get COVID-19 vaccine as early as March

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A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Posta Central Hospital in Santiago, Chile on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

Experts project BYU students could begin getting the COVID-19 vaccine sometime in the next few months.

“Students at BYU should expect to start receiving their vaccinations in the second group of the timeline (March-July),” said Kylaas Flanagan from the Utah County Health Department.

The phased vaccination plan can be found on the Utah County Health Department COVID-19 Vaccine page. The county is currently in the first phase of vaccinating those ages 70+ and healthcare workers.

Nearly a year after the coronavirus began sweeping across the world, experts say BYU students should now begin preparing and researching to choose whether or not to get the vaccine against the virus in the months to come.

“To find what makes up these vaccines may require some digging but going to the company websites that created the vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer is a good place to start,” said Brian Poole, a BYU microbiology and molecular biology professor.

Each of these companies have fact sheets about the vaccine that list information about its components and how it is administered. For example, the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine FDA fact sheet states, “The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is administered as a 2-dose series, 1 month apart, into the muscle.”

According to Poole, the only health concern he potentially sees in the vaccine is a lipid called Polyethylene Glycol that could cause an allergic reaction for some patients.

“Most places will have an EpiPen,” he said. “I don’t think any place would administer the test if they didn’t have EpiPen on hand, but asking before receiving the vaccine is a good safety precaution to take.”

The question of whether or not students should get the vaccine before more high-risk individuals can take it has a more complicated answer.

“In general we recommend that individuals who fit into any existing vaccination group get the vaccine as soon as they can. The populations that are opening up now have a greater impact on the mortality rates than those later on the schedule,” Flanagan said.

Though this virus caught the world by surprise, the Utah County Health Department has been preparing for a situation like this for a long time.

“While difficult, our emergency response and nursing teams have planned diligently for situations exactly like this for over a decade,” Flanagan said.

For more information on the vaccine and its distribution, visit the department’s webpage and follow the Utah County Health Department on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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