I Just Got A COVID-19 Vaccine: Now What?                   

The vaccine is developed with new a messenger RNA technology using a manufactured fragment of the coronavirus’ genetic code, which is injected into the arm

Reuters photo used for representation

On Tuesday, Britain is going to become the first country in the world to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNtech.

The country’s National Health Service will give priority in inoculating people over the age of 80, frontline healthcare workers and nursing home staff and residents.

Here is what people getting the vaccine should expect.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SOMEONE GETS THE VACCINE?

The vaccine is developed with new a messenger RNA technology using a manufactured fragment of the coronavirus’ genetic code, which is injected into the arm.

The process of immunization is given in two doses, which is in three weeks of interval and has been shown in trials to protect up to 95% of recipients from contracting COVID-19.

The side effects in trial volunteers were mostly mild to moderate and get cleared up quickly, said Pfizer. The most severe side effects occurred after the second dose: fatigue in 3.8% of volunteers and headache in 2%. Older adults leaned to report fewer and milder adverse events.

YOU MAY LIKE TO READ: How mRNA Will Change The Future Of Vaccines

WHAT KIND OF PROTECTION DOES IT GIVE?

The vaccine prevented COVID-19 illness for seven days after the second injection which is given about a month after the first shot.

The clinical trials so far have not been designed to determine if an immunized person can still spread the coronavirus to someone else.

While some vaccines like hepatitis A, do provide such protection which is known as sterilizing immunity but others do not. COVID-19 vaccine makers focused trials on determining whether the drug stopped people from getting ill.

It will take several more months before it becomes clear how long the vaccination will protect someone from coronavirus infection.

“Until then, it is better to avoid the pub, and other in-person gatherings with many people,” said Dr. Anita Shet, infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

DOES THE VACCINE MEAN BACK TO NORMAL LIFE?

As there is no evidence that the immunization prevents transmission of the virus – and no vaccine is 100% effective so far for which the scientists call for continued vigilance, including mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing.

Dr. Michelle Barron, senior medical director for infection prevention at Colorado’s UCHealth said, “As with all vaccines, it may work really great in certain patient subsets, but not as well in others … Does that mean you are free to hop on a plane or have 30 people over at your house? Probably not.”

She said vaccination campaigns are unlikely to reach “a critical mass” until next spring or early summer.

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