COVID-19 Vaccines: Information Desk

     Wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Keep social distance and stay at least 6 feet away from others. Avoid crowded gatherings and poorly ventilated spaces. Take Covid-19 PCR test. Wash your hands often. Not long ago, these aforementioned protocols were our only prevention and protection methods from the Coronavirus. Now, we are adding another one to the list: COVID-19 vaccines. With its fairly new presence, there may be concerns and wonders about the vaccines and the vaccination processes. So, in case you have missed any vaccination updates on the news, this article is an overview of things to know about the COVID-19 Vaccines. 

What are the authorized and recommended vaccines?

     As of the current time, there are two types of vaccine that have been approved in the U.S.  that are authorized and recommended for vaccination to prevent COVID-19: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. They are very similar to each other in terms of the technology they utilize, known as mRNA. This technology teaches your cells how to make a protein that prompts an immune response that triggers your body to make antibodies that will fight the infection from the virus. While these two vaccines used the same technology, they are different from each other when it comes to several other categories as elaborated below:

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

  • – Requires a maintenance of a temperature of no less than -94 degrees Fahrenheit, thus is needed to be shipped in a special container with dry ice.  
  • – The vaccine must be used between 30 minutes to two hours after thawed to room temperature  
  • – Needs to be diluted with saline after thawed before administration   
  • – Recommended for 16 years old and older
Credit: Japan Times

          Moderna COVID-19 vaccine 

  • – Requires a maintenance of a temperature of -4 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be shipped in a standard freezer.
  • – The vaccine must be used within 12 hours after thawed to room temperature.
  • – Comes ready to be administered
  • – Recommended for 18 years old and older
Credit: https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Moderna-COVID-19-vaccine-gets-US-authorization-second-in-8-days

     There are different COVID-19 vaccines that are undergoing intensive clinical trials and safety monitoring and have yet to be rolled out. We can be certain that researchers are working tirelessly to ensure more vaccines are available. 

Are there any side effects?

     You may experience some side effects after vaccination:pain and swelling on the arm where you receive the shot, fever, flu, chills, tiredness, or headache. However, according to the CDC, these are normal signs of our body when building protection. These side effects should go away in a few days. Pay attention to your body’s reaction, and contact your doctor or healthcare provider if the redness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours or if the side effects proceed longer than a few days, or more severe to which your ability to carry out daily activities is inhibited. 

What about the second shot? 

     With most current COVID-19 vaccines, you will need 2 shots: a priming dose, followed by a booster dose. However, the interval between the first and second depends on the type of vaccine:

  • – Pfizer-BioNTech: 3 weeks (or 21 days) after the first shot
  • – Moderna: 1 month (or 28 days) after the first shot

     You can still and should proceed to get your second shot timely even if you have side effects after the first one, unless you are advised otherwise by your healthcare provider. 

What are the benefits of getting vaccinated? 

1. They will help build protection against COVID-19 and help to keep you and your family safe from the virus. 

2. They are an important tool to help battling and stopping the pandemic. 

How safe are they?

     The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority. The approved and issued vaccines have exhibited successful data from various tests and large clinical trials conducted in thousands of study participants. In addition, with the following additional-information sources and safety monitoring systems, the CDC and FDA are able to test, evaluate, and compare COVID-19 vaccines in real-time. 

  • – V-safe: a smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker developed by the CDC. Provides text-messaging reminders and web surveys from CDC to check in with vaccine recipients. (https://www.cdc.gov/)
  • – National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN): CDC’s long term monitoring system that keeps track of vaccine-adverse events 
  • – her large insurer databases: information storage that allows for surveillance and research. 

How accessible are the vaccines? 

     There is currently a limited supply of the vaccine, but the products are rolling out and gradually increasing. CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have also published recommendations for vaccination-priority groups to decrease the potential death rate. The order is as follow: 

  • – Phase 1a:
    • – Healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.
  • – Phase 1b:
    • – Frontline essential workers 
    • – People of age 75 and older.
  • – Phase 1c:
    • – People of age 65-74 
    • – People of age 16-64 
    • – Other essential workers 
Credit: BBC

How to register for the vaccine appointments?

  • – Check for updates of your eligibility and registration sites on your local health department website. 
  • – Your local health department website will direct you to a list of medical non-profits with the sign-up sheets and vaccination sites.

     Each state comes up with its own guidelines about the vaccination process. It is never too careful to double-check with your city or county’s health department website or call your local COVID hotline. You can also seek out the Hun Health Department for more information.

     COVID-19 is a new disease, and it is still progressively evolving. Therefore, keep close eyes on the updated information about the virus status and the vaccination processes. 

     Be responsible! Be careful! Stay safe Hun!   

Sources: 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/8-things.html 

https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/covid-vaccines-compared.html