Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?
It is no longer news that a number of people have died from the COVID-19 pandemic, and there has been an obvious need for a vaccine. Now the vaccine is here, however, there are doubts and controversies flying around. Where do we go from here? Is the Pfizer vaccine safe to use?
Over time, we have garnered from medical science that there is no vaccine without an adverse effect. In fact, every effective medicine has unwanted effects. The extent to the unwanted effects is what we may then need to look into. What`s the balance of unwanted effects when compared with the benefit?
The Pfizer vaccine reduces cases of Covid by about 95%, however, it has some side-effects such as pain from the injection, chills, muscle pain, and headache, which could affect more than one in 10 people.
How COVID-19 Vaccines Work
COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19. There are different types of vaccines, and they work in various ways to offer protection. The vaccines provide the body with T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that will “remember” how to fight that virus in the future if need be.
It takes a few weeks for the body to produce T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes after vaccination, and as a result, they could be infected with COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and fall sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to protect them.
COVID-19 Vaccine and Fake News
The COVID-19 pandemic is probably one that has suffered the highest rate of controversy in recent times. A number of people assume that the vaccine causes any health problem that occurs anytime after the vaccination. Sadly, there will be more scare stories in the coming months, both in the press and on social media.
People tend to forget that vaccine or not, people get sick all the time. In the UK for instance, one person has a heart attack and one person has a stroke every five minutes. As a result, more than 600,000 people die every year.
Why Do we Need a Vaccine?
Unfortunately, many people are still vulnerable to coronavirus, and more would have died, but for the restrictions in various parts of the world. A vaccine is required to prevent us from contracting the virus, teach our bodies to fight the infection or make the infection less deadly. A Pfizer/BioNTech publication in November 2020 states some data about the vaccine:
- The vaccine is up to 95% effective
- The UK is due to get 40 million doses
- The vaccine will be administered in two doses, three weeks apart
- About 43,000 people have had the vaccine, with no safety concerns
- The vaccine must be stored at a temperature of around -70C.
- The vaccine will be transported in a special box, packed in dry ice, and installed with GPS trackers.
On the 2nd of December, 2020, the UK approved the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for widespread use, being the first country in the world to do so. Six days after, 90-year-old Margaret Keenan became the first patient to receive the vaccine at the University Hospital in Coventry. There are plans to administer 800,000 more doses expected after that.
The vaccine is a new type called RNA, and it uses a tiny fragment of the virus’s genetic code. This means that part of the virus will dwell inside the body, and the immune system will recognize it as foreign and start to attack. This is the first time that an RNA vaccine will be approved for use in humans, however, some people have received them in clinical trials for other diseases.
Facts About COVID-19 Vaccine
Vaccination Will Prevent Sickness from COVID-19
COVID-19 affects people in various ways. While some will only have a mild illness, others may get a severe illness or may even die. COVID-19 vaccination will protect you by creating an antibody response. This way, you won`t have to experience sickness.
COVID-19 Vaccines Will Not Give you COVID-19
There are several different types of vaccines in development, and none of the COVID-19 vaccines currently being developed will cause COVID-19. What they do is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. It is only normal for this process to cause symptoms such as fever because the body is building immunity. It takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. This implies that it is possible for a person to get infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after getting the vaccination. This is simply because the vaccine has not had enough time to protect them from the virus.
People Who Have Gotten Sick with COVID-19 Can Get Vaccinated
Considering the severe health risks associated with COVID-19, as well as the possibility of re-infection, previously infected people are advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Health experts are yet to ascertain how long it takes to get re-infected after recovering from COVID-19. After one suffers an infection, they are expected to have natural immunity, however, this varies from person to person, and may not last long.
Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are undeniably important aspects of COVID-19.
Receiving an mRNA Vaccine Will Not Alter your DNA
The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where the DNA is. This implies that the mRNA does not affect or interact with the DNA in any way. COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.
COVID-19 Vaccines Will Not Make you Test Positive on COVID-19 Viral Tests
Vaccines won’t make you test positive on viral tests. The goal of the vaccine is to make your body develop an immune response. When it does, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests, indicating that you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. There`s ongoing research on how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
Some Vaccine Facts
- Vaccines prevent more than 2.5 million deaths each year.
- Contrary to popular belief, there is no relationship between vaccines and autism.
- Vaccines cause “herd immunity,” which implies that if the majority of people in a community get vaccinated against a disease, unvaccinated persons are less likely to fall sick because the vaccinated ones are less likely to get sick and spread the disease.
- Vaccines reduced deaths from measles by 78% all over the world between 2000 and 2008 the world over.
- Not all vaccines are given as shots. Some vaccines are given orally.
- Immunization through vaccination is the safest way to protect against disease.
- It is always best to get vaccinated, even when you think the risk of infection is low.
- Combined vaccines are safe and beneficial.
Now that you Know…
It is important that you get vaccinated so you can protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Protection from COVID-19 is essential in preventing severe illness or death.
Ending a pandemic is quite Herculean. It requires using all the available tools, and vaccines are one of such tools. They work with your immune system to prepare your body to fight the virus. Of course, other prevention methods such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing remain vital in reducing your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others.