As the world moves into 2021, the spread of COVID-19 remains an international concern. As a ray of hope in a dark situation, vaccinations have emerged worldwide. 


According to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker, over 15.6 million shots have been administered in the U.S. since Dec.14. 


While the initial rollout proved underwhelming compared to projections, the effort to provide everyone with access to the vaccines remains in action. Currently, most states remain in Phase 1 of vaccine distribution, with plans to grow the distribution from there.


President Joe Biden, who held a national mourning on Jan. 19 to remember those who died from COVID, plans to immunize 100 million people within the first 100 days of his presidency. He also will enlist the Federal Emergency Management Agency to aid in creating more vaccination sites.


In Pennsylvania, a new partnership with Rite Aid aims to disperse the vaccine further throughout long-term and assisted living facilities. Additionally, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom plans to aid Lehigh Valley Health Network by holding a COVID-19 vaccination site on its premises. 


The state currently remains in Phase 1A, which covers front line workers and nursing home residents. The next step, Phase 1B, expands this reach towards everyone over 65 and those 16-64 with chronic illnesses, though it is unclear when this phase will begin. 


Vaccine resistance also remains a roadblock on the path to immunity.


At the same time, a USA Today poll reports that there was a 10% increase in people who responded that they would receive the vaccine, moving from 46% in December to 56% in January. 


In a recent WWL Eyewitness News article, LSU Health Chief of Community and Population Medicine Dr. Benjamin Springgate offered some comforting words to those facing doubts about the vaccines currently authorized in the U.S. 


“This vaccination is safe, it’s effective, it’s going to save lives and it’s going to help us out of this pandemic,” Springgate said.


He also noted that some common side effects after receiving the vaccine may include soreness at the injection site, rash or redness and sometimes a fever or chills. 


“This of course does not mean you’ve been infected with the virus or that you’re sick with the virus,” Springgate said. “This is your immune system building up a response and showing that this is what I’m going to do if I need to fight off the actual virus.”


The reaction can vary per person and some may not feel anything afterwards. 


In the end, it is important to look into the facts when searching for information on the COVID-19 vaccines. Peruse the CDC’s COVID Vaccine website and check in with your local doctor to figure out when receiving the vaccine is right for you.