How Do These Vaccines Work
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines both use mRNA technology. The cells in your body naturally use mRNA all the time to create many different types of proteins that you need to stay healthy.
The mRNA in the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines provide the cells of your body with instructions on how to make the spike protein thats specific to the new coronavirus. This spike protein is found on the surface of the virus. It uses this spike protein to attach to and enter a host cell in your body.
When you get your COVID-19 vaccine, your immune system processes information on the spike protein and generates an immune response to it. This includes the production of antibodies.
Vaccines hinge on a very important aspect of your immune system, which is the fact that it has memory. After your vaccination, your immune system continues to store information on the spike protein.
If youre exposed to the new coronavirus, your immune system will then use this stored information to respond and protect you from the virus. This can help prevent you from becoming sick with COVID-19.
The entire immunity process typically takes around 2 weeks after the second dose of vaccine. Thats why you can still contract the new coronavirus and become ill if youre exposed to it shortly after getting your vaccine.
relatively weak immune response when given as just one dose. However, there was a stronger immune response when a second dose was added.
Why do you need this waiting period?
Common Temporary Side Effects
The second shot produces a stronger immune system response, so reactions are more common. These temporary symptoms are expected, normal reactions when receiving a vaccine. Each person reacts differently to a vaccine, so its possible you wont experience any symptoms.
Below are the reported reactions to the mRNA vaccines:
- Injection site discomfort, such as pain, swelling, redness, or bruising
- Muscle pain
- Lymph node swelling
Can You Still Get Ill With Covid
The new vaccines are very good, but theyre not perfect, and no vaccine works perfectly for everybody. The highest estimates of their peak efficacy are above 90%, but not quite 100%. After youre vaccinated, it is possible that you could catch Covid-19. But if you do get ill, its much less likely to be severe and youre much more likely to recover without needing to be hospitalised.
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Remember, immunity takes weeks to properly develop after getting your first dose, so during that time you may still be at some risk.
Theres also the danger of new coronavirus variants emerging that might be able to avoid the vaccines effects. For example, people have been concerned about the delta variant, first identified in India but now spreading in many countries. Public Health England has looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are against this variant. So far, it seems that the first dose of either vaccine is less likely to stop the variant from causing illness but protection from the second dose is much higher.
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What’s The Risk Of Getting Covid
Theres no one-size-fits-all answer to those questions because risk changes from one individual to the next, depending on a persons overall health, where they live and those they spend time with. While most people who get vaccinated will not experience a breakthrough infection, some people will. Taking reasonable precautions, like wearing a mask in public indoor spaces when you don’t know the vaccination status of others and avoiding crowded gatherings, will lower your risk. The vaccines remain highly protective against serious illness. A recent study in Los Angeles County showed that while breakthrough infections can happen, the unvaccinated are 29 times as likely to end up hospitalized from Covid-19 as a vaccinated person.Tara Parker-Pope
What To Expect At Your Vaccine Appointment
Dr. Abunasser was among the first group of doctors to receive the vaccine when it was made available to frontline workers. He says the process took less than 30 minutes. In his case, he received a notification to schedule an appointment. He did so and filled out a vaccine questionnaire that was similar to the one that you fill out before getting a flu shot. When he arrived for his COVID-19 vaccination, he signed in and got his shot.
The vaccine takes all of 20 seconds to administer. Once you get the shot, they give you a card that has the date and the type of vaccine that you received Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson on it. Then, they use a timer to monitor you for at least 15 minutes afterward just in case you were to have that rare allergic reaction while youre there. So, its a fairly seamless process, says Dr. Abunasser.
Dr. Abunasser experienced the vaccination process from the healthcare provider side. Heres what your experience might be like.
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What If You Don’t Get The Second Covid Shot
In April, a New York Times article made waves around the country, noting how 8 percent werent receiving their second vaccination. By mid-June, those figures increased to 12 percent of Americans who werent getting a second dose, according to CDC data.
As of early July, more than 181 million Americans received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and more than 155 million are fully vaccinated. In Oklahoma, there have been more than 3.2 million doses administered 1.7 million Oklahomans have received at least one dose and 1.5 million people are fully vaccinated.
On the surface, the numbers are headed in a positive direction as a majority of Americans are receiving their second dose. However, there is still a faction of the country using a one-and-done approach to the vaccine.
Pennsylvania is among the worst offenders in the country, with more than 16 percent of residents failing to receive their second dose, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Why does this matter? A CDC study showed adults 65 and older who received both doses were 94 percent less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to just 64 percent less likely for those who were partially vaccinated.
Put simply: Not receiving the second vaccine increases your risk of contracting COVID-19. An additional study from March showed one vaccine dose limited risk of infection by 80 percent compared to 90 percent with two doses.
Side Effects Are Better Alternative To Disease
Some, but not all, vaccine recipients have reported mild-to-moderate side effects after their shots, and these symptoms are more common after the second dose than the first. But experts say fear of short-term side effects shouldn’t keep people from completing the vaccine series especially considering the alternative.
“I’d rather put up with that day or two of feeling bad than the real possibility of having a fatal disease, Rupp said. To date, more than 606,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
Plus, if your first vaccine packed a punch, it’s unlikely the second one will, as well, Landon adds.
If you do experience side effects, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin or antihistamines can help with most post-vaccine pain or discomfort. And keep in mind: It disappears as quickly as it comes on, says Ross Kedl, professor of immunology and microbiology at the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine.
“That’s you being drunk with immunity It’s all due to immune-related molecules that have gone way over the top in an effort to make sure that the immunity is kicked off in the right gear, he adds.
“If you only get one dose of a two-dose vaccine, then when it comes to the variants, especially, you’re fighting with one arm tied behind your back.
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First Covid Vaccine Dose: What Can You Do After Your First Shot
The U.S. hit a new high for the number of daily Covid-19 vaccinations Saturday: 4 million. The record was set as vaccinations have steadily risen over recent weeks, bringing the daily average to more than 3 million.
That means more people in the U.S. are receiving one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine every day. For the majority, who will get either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccine, it’s just the first dose in three to four weeks, they’ll return for a second.
But is a person protected after just the first shot?
How Many Children Were Studied In The Clinical Trials And For How Long
Pfizers trial included 2,268 children ages 5 to 11, two-thirds of whom received two doses of the vaccine three weeks apart the rest were injected with two doses of saltwater placebo. Given how rarely children become severely ill, the trial was not big enough to draw meaningful conclusions about the vaccines ability to prevent Covid or hospitalization. Instead, the researchers relied on measurements of the children’s immune response, on the assumption that the protective levels of antibodies seen in older people would be as protective in younger children.
The Pfizer study for older children enrolled 2,260 participants ages 12 to 15. Of those children, 1,131 received the vaccine and 1,129 received saline placebo shots. The vaccine worked even better in children than it did in adults. No children in the vaccine group got sick with Covid-19, while 18 children in the placebo group became ill. The company is still gathering information, including testing the trial participants every two weeks for the coronavirus.
Moderna recently released the results of its trial testing the vaccine in 3,732 people ages 12 to 17, two-thirds of whom received two vaccine doses. There were no cases of symptomatic Covid-19 in fully vaccinated adolescents, the company reported.
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What Are The Side Effects Of The Vaccine
Side effects from vaccines are not uncommon, and the COVID-19 vaccine is no exception. The good news is that the effects are usually mild and go away quickly.
Vaccine reactogenicity refers to the reactions people can get from vaccines. Its a normal response, and it means that the vaccine and your immune system are working well. When your immune systems responds to a vaccine, it can cause local reactions, like redness or pain where the shot was given, or symptoms throughout the body, like a headache or fever.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were associated with some of these side effects in up to 10% of people who got the vaccine. Sometimes the side effects were slightly worse after the second shot.
Some side effects included:
Local reactions at the injection site
Vomiting and diarrhea
Since vaccinations have started, there have been a couple of people who have developed a severe allergic reaction after getting the shot. This happened in people with a history of severe allergic reactions to other things. For now, people with a history of a serious allergic reaction should not get the COVID-19 vaccine. More studies need to be done to see if, and how, this reaction is related to the vaccine.
And finally, two important points about side effects:
Yes You Can Still Transmit Covid
Getting the vaccine does not mean that youre automatically invincible. It takes time for the vaccine to take effect, so Dr. Abunasser stresses the importance of still practicing the protocols that have kept many of us safe during the pandemic.
After the first dose, it takes about a week for you to develop some antibody response, and you do get a partial immune response to the first dose, he says. So that is definitely good news. By no means does it mean complete immunity. The vaccine does provide some protection, but even after the two doses, it gives you about an 85% to 95% level of protection. Although you may be protected we cant tell if you are still at risk of being an asymptomatic carrier and have the ability to carry the virus and spread the virus to others. So you cant assume that just because you get the vaccine that you are both protected and no longer capable of carrying the virus asymptomatically and spreading it to others.
Dr. Abunasser says that when the vaccines were tested, they were shown to protect you from getting the disease itself.
He adds that while both vaccines were shown to be very effective, protecting up to 95% of those who received them, theres no way for us to tell who the other 5% will be. In other words, we dont know who will get the vaccine and not be a responder, and still be at risk for contracting COVID-19.
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How Will I Know If My Child Is Having Serious Side Effects
COVID-19 vaccine side effects for kids ages 5 to 11 will likely be similar, if not milder, than those seen in adults, according to Pavia.
âSore arms are very common,â he says. âSome children may experience fatigue, chills, muscle aches, or fever. These side effects were somewhat less common in children 5 to 11 years old than in teens and young adults.â
âMost often, these side effects last less than 24 hours, but may last a bit longer,â he says.
Overall, parents should trust their instincts, says Zerr.
âIf you are worried, call your childâs primary care provider,â she says. âAlso, the CDC has some helpful information here.â
Based on your answers, the CDC could give you a call with information on next steps you could take to address your concerns.
Do Vaccines Cause Blood Clots
Two vaccines, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, have been linked to extremely rare clotting disorders. In the United States, federal health regulators have told Johnson & Johnson to add a warning to its label to note the potential risk of rare blood clots. European regulators who concluded that a vaccine made by AstraZeneca may also be the cause of a similar, extremely rare clotting disorder. In both cases, the risk is iinfinitesimal, and health officials have said the shot’s benefits outwieigh the risk. The F.D.A. has not found a higher risk of clotting disorders in people who have received the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.Emily Anthes, Carl Zimmer and Noah Weiland
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Johnson & Johnson: 66%
Protection kicked in at 14 days and was 66.1% effective at 28 days. The vaccine’s efficacy varied depending on the country it was used in it was 72% effective in the US but 64% and 68% effective in South Africa and Brazil, respectively. These countries both have coronavirus variants circulating that could partially evade antibodies.
I Have An Autoimmune Disease Will The Vaccine Work For Me
An estimated 8% of Americans have an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, which occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks normal body tissues. Although people with autoimmune conditions were allowed to enroll in the Covid vaccine trials, patients were excluded if they were taking the type of immune-suppressing drugs used to treat autoimmune disorders. As a result, doctors believe the vaccine is safe for people with autoimmune conditions, but they dont have specific data showing how well the vaccine works in these patients. The National Institutes of Health has announced a new study to determine whether people with autoimmune conditions should receive a third dose of Covid vaccine, similar to the immunization schedule approved for patients with weakened immune systems. The study will also investigate whether pausing immunosuppressive therapy for autoimmune disease improves the antibody response to an extra dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In the meantime, patients with autoimmune conditions should consult with their physicians about getting the Covid vaccine.Dani Blum
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How Long Does It Take To Build Immunity After Getting A Covid
Immunity takes a while to build up. If you had your first Covid-19 vaccine dose yesterday, then you are not protected yet. Your body needs to spend time responding to the vaccination before it can produce an effective immune response.
It seems that some protection starts to appear about 2 weeks after the first dose, and then this increases over time. But after a longer time we arent yet sure how long this protection is likely to start to fade again. So you will need a second booster dose to make sure your immune system can consolidate this protection for the long term. The benefits of the second dose start to appear after about 1 to 2 weeks.
And there are different degrees of protection: against death, against needing to go to hospital, against getting ill, and against getting infected at all. A round-up of evidence from around the world, by Public Health England, finds that one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines is fairly good at preventing infection and illness, and better at preventing hospitalisation or death. After a second dose, protection increases further, although at the moment theres more evidence on second doses of Pfizer-BioNTech than Oxford-AstraZeneca.