What To Expect After Your Covid
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People who are most at risk from the complications of coronavirus are being offered the COVID-19 vaccination. This leaflet tells you what to expect after you have had your primary or booster vaccination.
What About The New Covid Variants
The emergence of several new COVID-19 variants has sparked concern amongst experts about how fast the virus is evolving and whether existing COVID-19 vaccines will be able to keep up.
So far, early evidence suggests the new variants are likely to be covered by existing vaccines, though some mutations might slightly blunt the vaccines’ effectiveness, Professor McMillan says.
“At the moment, the vaccines look good, but we may have to tweak them in the future,” he said.
Fortunately, most of the vaccine technologies behind the COVID-19 jabs are relatively easy to adapt to emerging viral variants.
“Our best vaccine is probably always the next one,” Professor McMillan says.
“While this isn’t going to be a virus that mutates and changes as quickly as influenza, it certainly will change.
“The virus has upped its game, and so must we.”
What To Do If You Are Concerned About Your Symptoms
These symptoms normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, call NHS 111. If you do seek advice from a doctor or nurse, make sure you tell them about your vaccination so that they can assess you properly. You can also report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines online through the Yellow Card scheme or by downloading the Yellow Card app.
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Preparing For Your Vaccine
You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including a flu vaccine, at the same visit. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, and possible side effects after getting vaccinated are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines. Learn more about the timing of other vaccines.
You should get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you already had COVID-19.
Getting sick with COVID-19 offers some protection from future illness with COVID-19, sometimes called natural immunity. The level of protection people get from having COVID-19 may vary depending on how mild or severe their illness was, the time since their infection, and their age. No currently available test can reliably determine if a person is protected from infection.
All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States are effective at preventing COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine gives most people a high level of protection against COVID-19 even in people who have already been sick with COVID-19.
Emerging evidence shows that getting a COVID-19 vaccine after you recover from COVID-19 infection provides added protection to your immune system. One study showed that, for people who already had COVID-19, those who do not get vaccinated after their recovery are more than 2 times as likely to get COVID-19 again than those who get fully vaccinated after their recovery.
Why People Are Getting Covid
Were seeing more reinfections now than during the first year of the pandemic, which is not necessarily surprising, Dr. Esper says.
The CDC says cases of COVID-19 reinfection remain rare but possible. And with statistics and recommendations changing so quickly and so frequently, that rare status could always change, as well.
Dr. Esper breaks down the reasons behind reinfection.
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New Variants Change The Herd
Even as vaccine roll-out plans face distribution and allocation hurdles, new variants of SARS-CoV-2 are sprouting up that might be more transmissible and resistant to vaccines. Were in a race with the new variants, says Sara Del Valle, a mathematical and computational epidemiologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The longer it takes to stem transmission of the virus, the more time these variants have to emerge and spread, she says.
Brazil began widespread distribution of Sinovac Biotechs CoronaVac vaccine in January.Credit: Rodrigo Paiva/Getty
Theres another problem to contend with as immunity grows in a population, Ferrari says. Higher rates of immunity can create selective pressure, which would favour variants that are able to infect people who have been immunized. Vaccinating quickly and thoroughly can prevent a new variant from gaining a foothold. But again, the unevenness of vaccine roll-outs creates a challenge, Ferrari says. Youve got a fair bit of immunity, but you still have a fair bit of disease, and youre stuck in the middle. Vaccines will almost inevitably create new evolutionary pressures that produce variants, which is a good reason to build infrastructure and processes to monitor for them, he adds.
Myth: Receiving A Covid
FACT: Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm.
COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals.
Learn more about the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccinations authorized for use in the United States.
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Should You Pause Methotrexate After Getting A Covid
Initial studies have found that some patients on methotrexate have a decreased response to the COVID-19 vaccine. While more research is needed, some experts and medical organizations have recommended that patients hold methotrexate after getting the vaccine others have not.
- The American College of Rheumatologys COVID-19 Vaccine guidance recommends that patients with well-controlled disease hold methotrexate for one week after each COVID-19 vaccine dose or for two weeks after a single-dose vaccine .
- The National Psoriasis Foundations COVID-19 Task Force Guidance recommends that patients who are to receive a mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine continue their biologic or oral therapies for psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis in most cases. However, it also says that for people who are 60 or older or have comorbidities linked with poor COVID-19 outcomes and have well-controlled disease could consider holding methotrexate for two weeks after getting the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Experts who recommend pausing methotrexate temporarily after getting a COVID-19 vaccine suggest this because it may help the vaccine protect you as much as possible.
Experts who recommend continuing to take methotrexate after getting a COVID-19 vaccine may have concerns that patients could flare if they stop taking it, or are not as worried about the potential decrease in vaccine effectiveness.
A Consensus Begins To Emerge
More evidence accumulated in March with a slew of studies about the mRNA vaccines. One with 9,109 healthcare workers in Israel found infections cut by 75 percent after two doses of the Pfize-BioNTech vaccine. Another revealed that the viral load fell fourfold in those who received one dose and then developed an infection.
Among more than 39,000 people screened for infection at the Mayo Clinic, patients had a 72 percent lower risk of infection 10 days after the first dose of either mRNA vaccine and 80 percent lower after both doses. The New England Journal of Medicine published research letters showing reduced infections in fully vaccinated healthcare workers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem, and the University of California in Los Angeles and San Diego.
The most persuasive evidence, according to Dean, came from an early April CDC study of 3,950 healthcare workers who were tested weekly for three months after receiving both doses of either mRNA vaccine. Full vaccination reduced infectionregardless of symptomsby 90 percent, and a single dose reduced infection by 80 percent.
Then theres the evidence all around us, Kindrachuk says.
Weve seen a pretty drastic decrease of transmission in the country, he says. That suggests not only are the vaccines protecting against severe disease but it suggests theres a reduction in transmission.
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What This Means For You
It’s important to know that there’s no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine affects a woman’s fertility. If you still have concerns, speak to your primary care physician or OB/GYN.
It’s natural to feel anxious when so much information is circulating widely on social media, but your doctor should be able to put your mind at ease about the safety and health benefits of the vaccine.
The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.
Myth: The Ingredients In Covid
FACT: Nearly all the ingredients in COVID-19 vaccines are also ingredients in many foods fats, sugars, and salts.
Exact vaccine ingredients vary by manufacturer. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines also contain messenger RNA and the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine contains a harmless version of a virus unrelated to the virus that causes COVID-19. These give instructions to cells in your body to create an immune response. This response helps protect you from getting sick with COVID-19 in the future. After the body produces an immune response, it discards all the vaccine ingredients just as it would discard any information that cells no longer need. This process is a part of normal body functioning.
COVID-19 vaccines do NOT contain ingredients like preservatives, tissues , antibiotics, food proteins, medicines, latex, or metals.
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Duration And Longevity Of Immunity Against Covid
Antibodies begin mobilizing within the first few days following an infection with COVID-19 or after receiving the vaccine. They steadily increase in concentration for weeks and months thereafter. So by three months following infection, people have a robust antibody response. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long held that people who have had a confirmed COVID-19 infection in the past 90 days do not need to quarantine when they come into contact with someone with COVID-19.
But by about six months, antibodies start declining. This is what led to the so-called waning immunity that researchers observed in the fall of 2021, months after many people had been fully vaccinated.
However, immunity is far more complex and nuanced, and antibodies only tell part of the story. Some B cells are long-lived, and they continue to produce antibodies against a virus. For this reason, antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 have been detected even a year after an infection. Similarly, memory B cells can be detected for at least eight months, and memory killer T cells have been observed for close to two years following COVID-19 infection.
But the mere detection of an immune response does not translate to full protection against COVID-19.
Based on the limited amount of time and research that researchers like us have been able to study COVID-19, it is difficult to precisely correlate the levels of antibodies and killer T cells with the degree of protection they offer.
Do Vaccines Stop The Spread Of Covid
Most people think of vaccines this way: you get vaccinated, and your immune system prepares to fight a virus or bacteria that enters the body. The vaccine serves as the catalyst to set up protection, prevent infection, and prevent you from infecting others.
Unfortunately, it is not quite that simple. Not all vaccines work that way, and its not actually what the two COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administrationmade by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNtechare designed to do. Their effectiveness is measured by how well they protect people against moderate to severe COVID-19 diseasenot how well they prevent infection or spread of the COVID-19 virus itself.
Interestingly, although the shots are 94% to 95% effective in preventing disease, there is no definitive data yet that proves they completely shut down the virus enough to stop it from moving from an infected person to someone else. i.e. if that vaccinated but the infected person isnt wearing a mask or isnt keeping the recommended six feet apart from others.
This lack of data explains why public health officials have said that even if youre vaccinated, you need to continue wearing the mask, remaining six feet apart, and avoid large gatherings even if your guests are all vaccinated, start holding intimate dinner parties with your other vaccinated friends and family.
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Immunity Might Not Last Forever
Calculations for herd immunity consider two sources of individual immunity vaccines and natural infection. People who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 seem to develop some immunity to the virus, but how long that lasts remains a question, Bansal says. Given whats known about other coronaviruses and the preliminary evidence for SARS-CoV-2, it seems that infection-associated immunity wanes over time, so that needs to be factored in to calculations. Were still lacking conclusive data on waning immunity, but we do know its not zero and not 100, Bansal says.
Modellers wont be able to count everybody whos been infected when calculating how close a population has come to the herd-immunity threshold. And theyll have to account for the fact that the vaccines are not 100% effective. If infection-based immunity lasts only for something like months, that provides a tight deadline for delivering vaccines. It will also be important to understand how long vaccine-based immunity lasts, and whether boosters are necessary over time. For both these reasons, COVID-19 could become like the flu.
Why Are Vaccinated People Still Catching Covid
COVID-19 vaccines are very effective, but none is 100% so. This is because immune responses vary from person to person and the virus that causes COVID-19 mutates and evolves, like the flu virus. Therefore, some people who are double vaccinated may still get infected – known as ‘breakthrough infections’- but they are less likely to become very ill or die.
“The vaccines we have were developed against the original strain of COVID-19,” explains Jit. “Variants such as Delta have mutations that make it harder for the immune systems of vaccinated people to recognise them. But they are still similar enough that the vaccines give good protection against them, especially against severe disease.”
Cases of COVID-19 are also rising among the vaccinated because the number of people in the UK who have had both doses is continuing to rise. As more of the population is vaccinated, the relative proportion of those with COVID-19 who have had both jabs will also increase.
Additionally, studies have shown that immunity among vaccinated people begins to wane over time. Although those who are vaccinated are significantly less likely to develop severe COVID-19 than unvaccinated people, their immunity can still decrease over time. This is why booster jabs are necessary, especially for vulnerable or high-risk people.
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What Is An Emergency Use Authorization
Drugs and vaccines have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that only safe and effective products are available to the American public. In situations when there is good scientific reason to believe that a drug is safe and is likely to treat or prevent disease, the FDA may authorize its use even if definitive proof of the efficacy of the drug is not known, especially for diseases that cause high mortality. On December 11, 2020 the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covidâ19 Vaccine and on December 18, 2020 the FDA issued an EUA for the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. We expect that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will receive full approval, called a Biologics License Application, in the first half of 2021.
The bar for ensuring safety of a vaccine is higher than for a therapeutic to treat an ill person. Vaccines are given to potentially millions of healthy people, unlike drugs for sick people, and loss of trust in a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 could spill over into loss of trust in other vaccines, seriously jeopardizing public health.
Meaghan Bowling Md Facog
I encourage my patients to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them, including women trying to get pregnant, women undergoing fertility treatments, women in any trimester of pregnancy, and women who are currently breastfeeding.
Experts agree that the safest way to enter pregnancy is to be vaccinated before conceiving. “Pregnant women are known to be in a higher risk category of COVID-19 illness, compared to the average person,” says Meaghan Bowling, MD, FACOG, who is board-certified in both obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
“COVID-19 infection has well-documented risks to mother and fetus, including severe respiratory illness, preterm labor, and maternal death,” Bowling says. “These real risks should be considered and weighed against the hypothetical and currently unproven idea that the COVID-19 vaccine could cause any detrimental effect on a womans reproductive health, including infertility, miscarriage, or birth defects.”
“I encourage my patients to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them, including women trying to get pregnant, women undergoing fertility treatments, women in any trimester of pregnancy, and women who are currently breastfeeding,” says Bowling.
“Every woman should have the opportunity to speak with her physician, and she should be given the autonomy to make this medical decision based on a shared-decision making model,” Dr. Bowling says.
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