Sunday, March 21, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccines 101: Benefits, Side Effects and How They Work

 

As vaccinations ramp up in BC here is the current information of the Vaccines available


COVID-19 Vaccines 101: Benefits, Side Effects and How They Work

COVID-19 vaccines are being administered worldwide. Three main vaccines have been approved. A fourth has been approved in many locations, but it has come into question. The four vaccines are from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.

It's important to understand how these vaccines work and their potential side effects.

Two Main Types of Vaccines: mRNA and Viral Vector

Vaccines can use numerous technologies to cause an immune response in the body and begin creating antibodies. Two main types of vaccines are in use to fight COVID-19: mRNA and Viral Vector.

What is an mRNA Vaccine?

Pfizer and Moderna, both two-shot vaccines, use what is known as messenger RNA, or mRNA. These vaccines require an S protein from the coronavirus. When injected, the mRNA will act as instructions that your cells can “read” and use to begin protecting against the coronavirus.

S Proteins are harmless pieces of the virus and do not give you the virus.

Instead, your body will make the protein pieces and initiate an immune response from the body. Your body will realize that the protein is foreign, so the body will ramp up an immune response and create antibodies to fight off the protein.

Since this protein is part of the COVID-19 virus, your body will now know how to create an immune response to kill the coronavirus, or at least the variants that they protect against.

What is a Viral Vector Vaccine?

A viral vector vaccine uses some of COVID-19's genetic material, which is placed into a weakened, live virus. Oftentimes, the material is placed in the adenovirus and then administered.

The viral vector, or the weakened form of the virus, will make its way into your cells.

Once in the cells, your body will make S protein copies. When the S protein reaches the cell’s surface, the immune system will recognize the protein as foreign and then will initiate the body’s immune response.

Your body will begin creating:

·         White blood cells (defensive)

·         Antibodies to fight the coronavirus

The antibodies will help fight off the coronavirus if you become infected. It's important to know that the viral vaccine doesn’t cause infection of the coronavirus, nor will it have any impact on your DNA.

Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca are viral vector vaccines.

4 Main Vaccines: Benefits, Side Effects and How They Work

Pfizer-BioNTech

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two injections that are spread 21 days apart. The second shot can be administered up to six weeks later. When you receive the second shot, it’s a sort of “reminder” to the body that there’s a threat of this virus and to create antibodies to kill it.

Due to the second shot, the vaccine is able to reach an efficacy rate of 95%.

Side Effects

·         Chills

·         Fever

·         Headache

·         Muscle pain

·         Nausea

·         Tiredness

·         Swelling (injection site)

·         Pain (injection site)

·         Redness (injection site)

Moderna

Moderna’s vaccine is similar to the Pfizer vaccine in almost all ways. A second shot is required within 28 days, although the shot can be delayed up to six weeks if necessary. The vaccine is 94% effective following the second dose.

Side Effects

·         Chills

·         Fever

·         Headache

·         Muscle pain

·         Nausea

·         Tiredness

·         Swelling (injection site)

·         Pain (injection site)

·         Redness (injection site)

Janssen/Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson is a single-shot vaccine that can be stored in a refrigerator. The single shot is beneficial because people are more likely to go for a single shot and the rate of vaccination can improve greatly.

Effectiveness in preventing the virus is 66% following a 14-day period after the shot.

At least 28 days after vaccination, the vaccine was able to prevent 85% of severe cases.

Side Effects

·         Chills

·         Fever

·         Headache

·         Muscle pain

·         Nausea

·         Tiredness

·         Swelling (injection site)

·         Pain (injection site)

·         Redness (injection site)

AstraZeneca

The AstraZeneca vaccine is in question at the moment due to a person suffering from blood clots. Medical agencies are examining the vaccine with more scrutiny to determine if whether the blood clots were related to the vaccine.

Ease-of-use and cost effectiveness are two of the main benefits of AstraZeneca.

Efficacy was 62% for preventing symptomatic disease, although this figure is often reported as being in the lower 70s in many cases. The vaccine does require two shots that are 4 to 12 weeks apart.

Side Effects

·         Chills

·         Fever

·         Feeling of being tired

·         Pain at injection site

Keep in mind that all vaccines pose a risk of an allergic reaction, although these risks are low. A person with severe allergies or that has health-related issues should consult with their doctors before getting the vaccine.

Side effects from all of the listed vaccines can vary from person to person, but the most common side effects are listed. Most people will have symptoms for a day or two, while others will have no side effects at all.

Multiple other vaccines are in production or being used around the world, including vaccines in Russia and India.

Over time, new COVID-19 vaccines are likely to be released as clinical trials are completed. A few of the most common questions asked before a person gets a vaccine are:

·         Do these vaccines protect against COVID variants? Yes, and no. The vaccines listed have shown to protect against a variety of variants, including the U.K and South Africa variants. As new variants enter the population, booster shots may be required to protect against variants.

·         Can the vaccine give you COVID? No. The live virus is not used in any of the above listed vaccines.

·         Can I still get COVID? Yes. No vaccine is 100% effective yet. The vaccines have been shown to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death. While your body builds immunity following the vaccine, you’re still susceptible to the virus and not protected against serious illness.

You should direct any questions that you may have to your physician or the person administering the vaccine to you. As more people get vaccinated, the rate of transmission should drop significantly and allow people to go back to a sense of normalcy, although the virus may continue to remain in the wild.

At this time, vaccine makers are unsure of how long your body will maintain high enough antibodies to fight off the virus.

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