The COVID vaccines are rolling out and many people have questions or concerns about them. Number one question for many is when can I get it? For that check with your city or county health departments to get on their lists. Check with the MD Dept of Health for signup:
I wanted to answer a few other common questions for you so here goes.
1.) Is it safe since it came out so quickly?
We don't know enough about how this vaccine will play out over time but the science behind the mRNA technology has been there for over 10 years. This combined with the unique situation of the international community working together in an 'all hands on deck' approach made this possible. All of that should give you some reassurance about this not being a completely new and untested technology.
2.) And so, is it safe?
This is the 20,000 question but in the early analysis they seem to be extremely effective AND generally very safe. People with severe allergic reactions to components in the vaccines are cautioned about receiving it and have been counseled to discuss their situation with their physicians as we have seen severe allergic reactions to some of the early injections.
It looks like the Moderna vaccine has more of the mRNA material in it and therefore is showing stronger immune response reactions. Pfizer recipients seem to be having mild if any adverse responses. There are very few, but present, severe adverse reactions. This is so with any vaccination unfortunately. If you have underlying conditions I would be more concerned but if not please don't let this fear overtake you as a reason to avoid vaccination. Many are in the 'wait and see' group who want to see what happens to others who receive it first. This is naturally playing out because of the length of time it will take for the full rollout to occur.
Here are listings of each vaccines ingredients:
3.) What are the common side effects of the vaccine?
Reactions to the vaccine are signs that your immune system is working to develop immunity against COVID. They are not mild reactions to the virus itself. Common responses are arm pain, fatigue, fever, headache. Here is a link for more information:
4.) Can you get COVID from someone who was recently vaccinated?
Vaccination helps prevent severe infection but doesn't prevent getting it 100%. We can surmise that infection rates will start to diminish as more people are vaccinated because the greater the infectious response, the more likely spread is to occur. So, needless to say you will still need to use the precautions in place so far - mask, distancing and avoiding large gatherings.
That said another concern is if one can spread it from just getting the vaccine. Other vaccines in the past have been from live virus or live attenuated virus such as MMR, Varicella (Chicken Pox), and influenza. They could shed for a few weeks after vaccination. The SARS CoV2 vaccines are NOT from live or live attenuated virus at all so there is NOW WAY TO SHED VIRUS.
5.) Does it alter my DNA?
In a word NO, mRNA does not enter the cell and is more like an instruction booklet for the cells. It degrades quickly - that is why they need refrigeration and it does not alter DNA.
6.) Will it cover the virus variant mutations?
Looks like it will and they are considering a third booster to increase antibodies as well as further studies
7.) What about children and pregnant women?
Some studies are planned for children but haven't begun. There are recommendations and information on pregnancy and vaccination is available on the CDC website
Please feel free to leave more questions here and I will do my best to answer them!
Laura Coleson has been studying and pondering health and medicine for over 40 years. Here you will find occasional musings, updates on cool stuff I'm getting into, and information for patients and you!