The COVID-19 vaccine offers hope for a return to normalcy


Lindsay Benza '23

Moderna, Pfizer, and BioNTech begin to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

2020 has been difficult for people around the world dealing with the effects of COVID-19.  As the new year begins, there is hope for a return to normalcy with the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines throughout the United States.  Leaders and frontline healthcare workers, including Sacred Heart Greenwich parent, Mrs. MaryAnne Farrell, have started to receive the first doses of the vaccine.

In the United States, there have been 20.9 million COVID-19 cases and 356,000 COVID-19 deaths since March 2020, according to  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have advised people to follow safety guidelines such as mask-wearing, social distancing, and disinfecting.  Even though these precautions have helped to slow the spread of the virus, they are not the ultimate solution as they interfere with everyday activities, according to 

Moderna, Pfizer, and BioNTech have created a vaccine that develops the antibody response in the body without infecting individuals with COVID-19, according to  The Food and Drug Association (FDA) gave emergency authorization December 11 to Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccines for distribution in the United States.  The FDA has currently approved the vaccines for those who are 16 years of age and older.  Side effects can include pain at the site of injection, tiredness, headache, muscle and joint pain, and fever, according to  

Ms. Sandra Lindsay is the first person in the United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  Courtesy of

Moderna’s vaccine, in partnership with the National Institute of Health (NIH), had a 94.1% efficacy rate of preventing COVID-19 in a clinical trial.  Similar to Pfizer and BioNTech, the Moderna vaccine leaves COVID-19 antibodies in the body without causing sickness.  Moderna’s vaccine requires two doses which must be given 28 days apart, according to The New York Times

The first person in the United States to receive the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine was Ms. Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse from Queens, New York.  After receiving the vaccine December 14, Ms. Lindsay felt hopeful for the future according to The New York Times.

“It feels surreal,” Ms. Lindsay said.  “It is a huge sense of relief for me, and hope.”

Mrs. Farrell is the mother of Sacred Heart senior MaryGrace Farrelland alumnae Ms. Megan Farrell ’20 and Ms. Katie Farrell ’16.  She is a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse at Greenwich Hospital, located in Greenwich, CT.  Mrs. Farrell received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on December 26 and will receive the second dose January 8.  Mrs. Farrell’s only side effect of the vaccine was a sore arm.  She spoke about her experience working in the hospital during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Working through Covid has definitely been challenging,” Mrs. Farrell said.  “I have been at deliveries where a father could not be there to see his baby born because the mom and dad were positive for COVID.  It is so difficult for these couples to be apart during a very special time in their lives, a time when the mother needs as much support as possible.”

Mrs. Farrell explained how the vaccine is a relief for her and other healthcare workers as they no longer run the risk of infecting their patients.

“At first, the vaccine will really only affect the medical staff and help protect us which is a relief to not put our babies at risk,” Mrs. Farrell said.  “My biggest fear is infecting a baby, especially a premature infant who is already so weak and immunocompromised.”

Mrs. Farrell wears personal protective equipment (PPE) while working at the hospital during the pandemic.  Courtesy of Mrs. MaryAnne Farrell

President-elect Mr. Joseph R. Biden Jr. received his first dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine at ChristianaCare Hospital in Newark, Delaware December 21.  Mr. Biden will receive his second dose of the vaccine 21 days after the first dose.  Mr. Biden reassured the American people that the vaccines are a step in the right direction.

“I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine,” Mr. Biden said, according to

Vice President Mr. Mike Pence and Second Lady Mrs. Karen Pence received the COVID-19 vaccine December 18, according to  Mr. Pence promoted the vaccine and its success according to

“I didn’t feel a thing, well done,” Mr. Pence said. “Make no mistake about it.  It’s a medical miracle.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, also received his first dose of Moderna’s vaccine December 22.  Dr. Fauci believes that the vaccine is safe and effective, according to

“I feel extreme confidence in the safety and the efficacy of this vaccine and I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity to get vaccinated so that we can have a veil of protection over this country, that would end this pandemic,” Dr. Fauci said.

Featured Image by Lindsay Benza ’23