Jason Soul / Staff reporter

With Christmas looking different because of the pandemic, it is good news that the first shipments of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Canada. It arrived in Toronto on December 24. They were transported using dry ice and temperature-monitoring devices to ensure the doses stayed at -20 C – the temperature needed to keep the vaccines stable. 

Canada has guaranteed 40 million total doses of the vaccine and they will be first received by the health-care workers and vulnerable people in long-term care facilities. 

The vaccines developed by Moderna, an American biotechnology company, confirmed that the updated data from its Phase 3 clinical trial shows that vaccine is more than 94 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19, sourced by Health Canada. 

Canada is now the second country in the world after the U.S. to approve the Moderna shot, the second coronavirus vaccine to get the green light in the country’s mass immunization effort. 

The government of B.C announced that even though some people will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine soon, it is still very important to follow public health orders, wash your hands, physical distance, wear a mask and stay home when sick. These layers of protection are still essential for all people in B.C. 

“I want to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Daniel Kim, grade 11. “I think I would feel safer to go out after I am vaccinated. I would still need to put my mask on and follow the safety protocols, but I think I would feel mentally safer knowing that I am vaccinated,” added Kim.  

Vaccines do more than protect the people getting vaccinated, they also protect everyone around them. The more people in a community who are vaccinated and protected from COVID-19, the harder it is for the virus to spread. The government of B.C told that everyone who is recommended to be vaccinated will have the opportunity to get it by the end of 2021, and the herd immunity could be reached once 60 to 70% of the population is vaccinated. 

“I think it is important to get vaccinated when you can because they are not only protecting themselves from the virus, but they are also protecting everyone around them,” said Matt Lee, grade 11. “But until the virus is completely gone, we should all continue to protect each other by following public health care orders.” 

However, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are only approved for people who are 18 years of age and older. It has not been established whether it is safe and effective in people younger than 18 years of age. 

Also, there are side effects that might occur by the injection, such as pain at the site of injection, body chills, feeling tired, and feeling feverish. Like any other vaccines, there is also a rare chance to have a serious side effect, something like an allergic reaction.  

“Although it is great to hear that the government of Canada is making a progress to overcome COVID-19, I am not pleased with the vaccines that just arrived,” said Jeremy Sabot, grade 11. “The limitations and the side effects of injection make me feel insecure about its effectiveness.”