The successful development of the Coronavirus vaccine is a huge breakthrough in medical science and also takes us one step closer to sweeping off the virus completely. An authentic and safe vaccine will prevent the population from becoming sick from the virus. As the number of vaccinated individuals increases, communities, as well as families, will gradually be able to return to their normal routine that was followed before the pandemic hit.
The World Health Organization and its partners have teamed up to help people against the virus by distributing necessary medicines, testing kits, tracking the pandemic, advising on critical interventions. They are in a neck to neck competition to create effective and safe vaccines as well as deploying them.
Many souls are saved with these vaccines as they work by helping the natural defense of your body, the immune system prepare and train to recognize as well as fight off the bacteria and virus that invade your body.
However, as the vaccines started coming out for COVID-19, a lot of individuals were holding doubts regarding the efficacy and safety of vaccines, especially amongst groups of people who happened to suffer from underlying health conditions.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe, and what is known about their security.
The U.S. vaccine safety system operates to make sure that all the vaccines used by people are as safe as possible. Federal agencies ensure that safety is the top priority while working with manufacturers in the development as well as authorization of the vaccines for COVID-19. The following are some of the critical areas that are part of the review and authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine development.
- Careful testing of the vaccines: All vaccines that are made available to the public have to undergo clinical trials to test their effectiveness as well as safety. Rigorous standards were set up by FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for vaccine developers to meet. The vaccines must go through a four-phase process to ensure that it is both safe and effective before it is released to the public.
- Authorization for use in an emergency: Vaccines that manage to meet the safety and effectiveness criteria set up by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) can become available in the U.S. by EUA (emergency use authorization) or by approval. A EUA allows medication or vaccine to be temporarily authorized in situations that are urgent such as, in the current pandemic.
- Continued monitoring for side effects as well problems: Once a medicine or vaccine gains authorization to be made available, it is monitored continuously with systems in place to discover any side effects or issues that were not visible during the clinical trial.
Are there any safety concerns with the COVID-19 vaccine?
Up till now, no serious safety concerns have been reported in any of the trials of the vaccine. The Moderna and Pfizer corona vaccines had separate, independent boards for monitoring the safety of the vaccines. The data was continuously reviewed by the expert panels as well as the FDA.
According to the CDC, individuals with allergies to certain insects, latex, foods as well as other common allergies can safely take the vaccine. Individuals who have a history of intense allergic reactions to vaccines or other injectables should first discuss with their doctors, who can help evaluate the individual and judge whether it would be safe for them to take the vaccine. They have also said that at this time, any individual who has a severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis to any of the ingredients used in the vaccines of Pfizer should not take the vaccine.
How the vaccine for COVID-19 was developed so quickly.
If we take a quick look at the past, vaccines for diseases had taken a lot of years before they were developed, but just because the vaccine for COVID-19 was produced relatively quickly does not represent that any of the safety measures were disregarded or skipped. There are multiple reasons behind why the vaccine for this virus was developed faster compared to other vaccines.
- The technology used for the development of the COVID-19 vaccines, known as mRNA (messenger RNA), has been in development for years to prepare against any outbreak of an infectious virus. Hence, it was possible to manufacture vaccines early during the pandemic.
- The genetic information on the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was shared by China when it was available, and this gave vaccine manufacturers an early start at discovering the vaccine.
- No steps were skipped during the safety processes for the vaccine. However, some stages of the process were conducted simultaneously, which allowed the developers to collect as much data as fast as possible.
- Some of the vaccines against COVID-19 utilized a newer technology known as mRNA (messenger RNA) that allowed the vaccine developers to make the vaccines faster compared to the traditional methods that are used for the development of a vaccine.
- Companies also reached out through social media to enroll volunteers, and heaps of people were willing to volunteer and help in the process, which allowed for sufficient research participants for the testing of the COVID-19 vaccines.
- Since the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is widespread and is highly contiguous, a high number of individuals who volunteered were already exposed to the virus, which also played a role in shortening the time of the trial period.
- Some vaccine manufacturers also began to manufacture the vaccines even before they got the approval or authorization so that they would be ready with supplies right when the approval or consent comes in.
How effective are the vaccines against COVID-19?
The manufacturers of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines claim that the vaccines are approx. 95% effective at protecting people from both severe and mild symptoms that you might suffer from COVID-19, and this level of efficiency is visible across ethnic and racial groups, both the sexes and age groups. The Pfizer-BioNTech gained authorization on December 12 and is authorized to use individuals of age 16 and above. The Moderna vaccine against COVID-19 was issued an authorization for use in emergency cases on December 18 and is approved for use on individuals of age 18 and above.
Will you suffer from any side effects after taking the vaccine for COVID-19?
Vaccine manufacturers claim that the side effects can include fever, pain at the injection site, muscle ache, headache, and fatigue at most for about a day or two. If the symptoms persist longer than that, it is recommended that you contact your doctor.
In case you have allergies, especially those severe cases that require you to carry an EpiPen with you, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor first. The doctor can help you assess risk and offer you proper guidance on safely taking the vaccine.
Can you get COVID-19 from the vaccine itself?
No, it is not possible for you to get COVID-19 from the vaccine as both the vaccines do not have the infectious material or the virus in them. They are designed to cause your body to make a copy of a harmless piece of the virus. So, you won’t get the COVID-19 from the vaccine. Side effects from the vaccine can include soreness at the injection and fever, especially after the second shot of the vaccine.
Only you can decide on whether to get the vaccine or not. However, it is advisable that you do take it to protect yourself and your family against the virus. If you have allergies, consult a doctor first before taking the vaccine to help assess the risk.