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  • Antoni C. Maroto

COVID-19 Vaccines

As of now—and I'm aware that part of the information in this post may become obsolete over time—three COVID-19 vaccines have been approved in the United States for emergency use. Those vaccines are:


  • The Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

  • The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

  • The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine


Other COVID-19 vaccines are used in other parts of the world, such as the Oxford–AstraZeneca and the Sputnik COVID-19 vaccines. As I'm writing this post, eleven COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for public use in certain countries.


In some countries, those vaccines have been authorized only for emergency use. Additionally, there are 66 vaccine candidates in clinical research.


Among the currently approved vaccines, there are three types:


  • RNA vaccines

  • Adenovirus vector vaccines

  • Inactivated virus vaccines


RNA vaccines use a copy of messenger RNA (mRNA) to cause cells to build the foreign protein and stimulate an adaptive immune response. Adenovirus vector vaccines use an organism that does not cause disease to transport the pathogen genes into the body to elicit an immune response. Inactivated virus vaccines consist of virus particles, bacteria, or other pathogens that have been grown in culture and then killed to destroy their disease-producing capacity.


While the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are RNA vaccines, the AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, and Johnson & Johnson ones are adenovirus vector vaccines. BBIBP-CorV (also known as the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine) and CoronaVac (also known as the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine) are inactivated virus vaccines.


MORE: What is an Emergency Use Authorization?


Many countries have implemented phased distribution plans that prioritize those at highest risk of complications, such as the elderly, and those at high risk of exposure and transmission, such as healthcare workers.


In Utah—my home state—approximately 11% of the population has been fully vaccinated as I'm writing this article. The vaccine is currently available for the following:


  • Healthcare workers

  • Long-term care facility staff and residents

  • First responders

  • Ages 65 and older

  • K-12 teachers and school staff

  • Ages 16 and older with certain underlying medical conditions


While most of you know that my main focus is medical translation, only a few know that I provide medical interpreting services on the side.


Although I'm not certified as an interpreter, I graduated with a licentiate in Translation & Interpretation. Two of the subjects that I took were consecutive and simultaneous interpretation. I've proved that I'm qualified for the cases that I'm assigned.


I began taking on medical interpreting cases while living in Chicago in 2018. Over a year ago, I began collaborating with an interpreting agency in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, I had to stop taking assignments when the pandemic started a year ago.


That agency recently provided me with a letter allowing me to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, I will be receiving the first dose on March 3, 2021. Once I'm fully vaccinated, I'll be able to work in healthcare settings again.


CHECK: Once I have been vaccinated, can I resume a normal life?


Even if I prefer to translate documents for Spanish-speaking patients, I will provide my services as an interpreter whenever I'm available and needed in my area.


I've considered getting certified as a medical interpreter to create another income source, but I'm not sure yet if that is what I really want. I've always felt more comfortable working from home behind a computer screen.


What I know is that all the patients that I've interpreted for were satisfied. That's why I'm grateful to get this vaccine. It will allow me to continue helping others, and that definitely makes me happy!