10 Questions Experts Still Have About the COVID-19 Vaccine

The world’s first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were first administered in the United Kingdom back in December 2020 – a remarkable milestone in the current global pandemic that’s left 1.93 million (and sadly, still counting) dead, an unprecedented stat in modern times.

On Dec 14, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first COVID-19 vaccine, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which would allow millions of people, mostly the infected, to get vaccinated.

However, despite this tremendous breakthrough, we are yet to address the elephant in the room. Several lingering questions need answers, especially about the approved vaccines and the tricky road ahead. At 321 Lifestyle, we sourced out these questions and sought out answers too.

  1. How do COVID-19 vaccines work?

The immune system is designed to combat germs within the body. Once the human body has effectively warded off the harmful intruder, it then develops antibodies that protect you against the same intruder (germs) in the future.

Like the other vaccines we had in the past, they help the body develop potent immunity to different germs by mimicking an infection.

The infection isn’t full enough to make you sick, but just enough that your body detects the signature of each unique embryo and starts creating potent antibodies to shield your body against future infection. The COVID-19 vaccines use love or inactivated viruses during their double-blinded tests.

  1. How long will the vaccine be effective?

Looking at the speed at which Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, from the enrollment to the acceptance phases, there aren’t any exact details on the duration of the vaccine’s effectiveness. The virus was only discovered in 2019. Based on Pfizer’s and Moderna’s clinical’s trials, experts have concrete proofs that the vaccines have long-lasting protection, though the actual time length is still unknown.

With the data we have right now, studies show continued protection since the trial’s start began. Further research and monitoring of problems in the months and several years to come will allow for more understanding of the vaccine’s long-term immunity features.

  1. Does the approval mean an end to the “double-blind” vaccine trials?

The Pfizer vaccine trial has more than 37,000 participants, most of which are in the U.S.A. More than 18,000 received a vaccine, and a similar number of participants were given a placebo.

Even though these companies and many other scientists have collected enough data for EUA, experts also believe that these trials will continue, especially with the original participants.

This data collection allows for a long-term study of the vaccine’s side effects beyond the initial research and monitoring period used for the approval.

Although the steps involved in approving these vaccines have been sped up, the public should be confident that these science procedures have not been compromised. Scientific integrity is evident, and vaccine researches will continue to gather data. 

  1. When will the public get the COVID-19 vaccine?

While some certain groups can get the vaccine now, questions are raised about its general usage. There is currently a limited supply of the vaccine.

Based on the current projections, healthy people below the age of 5 with zero medical conditions, which put them at a much higher risk for the complications that ensue the virus, and who isn’t in one of the other top priority categories (essential worker, healthcare worker, first responder) can expect to start getting the vaccines by early March through Mid-April.

Both Pfizer and Moderna are working on fast productions, and shipping is being taken care of too. Most of the companies are currently working to ensure that these COVID0-19 vaccines arrive at each state’s point of use as fast as possible.

But getting to the point of use quickly and safely depend solely on any disruption or alteration in the supply chain for the needed materials to produce the vaccine on a global scale.

  1. How effective will this vaccine speak on a global scale?

Although people will be protected from this viral disease after receiving the vaccine, there’s the possibility of been infected. Receiving the vaccine won’t shield you from the virus instantly, as it is believed that the vaccine takes much longer to provide protection (clearly, no vaccine is perfect).

For instance, the Pfizer vaccine is only 95 percent effective, according to evidence published by the regulators. The Moderna vaccine, on the other hand, is 94 percent effective.

However, even after getting these two vaccines, it may take a few weeks for your body to start building immunity; it needs to fight the virus after been vaccinated. It means that someone could get infected before or after vaccination.

  1. What are some of the vaccine’s side effects?

According to scientists, there are several sorts of moderate side effects such as tenderness or pain at the injection site – you could easily classify this as a mild side effect. These mild side effects are common with mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines. Both redness and swelling aren’t familiar, but it may also occur.

Some people are having some systemic symptoms like muscle aches, fever, fatigue, and headache, to varying degrees. More often than not, we’d characterize these effects as both mild and moderate, but it is important to note that all of them resolve in two days, at least.

Note: no long-term side effect has been documented yet. However, the vaccines haven’t been around long enough to determine the long-term side effects. Scientists haven’t accumulated sufficient evidence.

  1.  Will these vaccines be mandatory?

Many legal frameworks are surrounding mandatory vaccination. Whether this is right or wrong is a whole different story, as the report can be sensitive and controversial to some people out there. However, it is essential to note that these vaccines will only work if people get them.

While there are laws and regulations in place in some states in the United States of America around mandatory vaccinations for children, it isn’t sure if any states would enact these same rules for COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC also advises that the virus may not be recommended for children during the first vaccinating phase.

Many companies often require their employees to get vaccines every year to protect against viral disease. These corporations could develop similar requirements, especially in essential jobs and health care, even though it is still unclear when publishing this piece.

  1. Should pregnant or breastfeeding women get the vaccine?

Although both pregnant and breastfeeding women didn’t partake in the companies’ double-blinded studies, the Food and Drug Administration pointed out that they may opt for vaccination only for emergency use.

Based on our research, some experts suggest that the decision only to allow pregnant and breastfeeding women to get vaccinated was made because the virus itself poses a greater risk to expectant women rather than the vaccine itself.

There has been more concern about “live virus” vaccines and their effects on pregnant women. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is not a live virus; what it is, however, is an mRNA vaccine. And according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the effects of the vaccine in pregnant women would be similar to what you’ll have in non-pregnant women.

Historically speaking, pregnant and breastfeeding women were vaccinated and were also deemed to be appropriate and safe. In case you’re pregnant or currently breastfeeding, seek medical help or speak with a physician to define what works.

  1. Will there be enough COVID-19 vaccine for everyone?

As we speak, two vaccines are currently authorized to prevent the virus in the United States. To help guide the decisions about how to distribute the limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccine, The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the CDC have published recommendations for the categories of people who should get the vaccination first. Understandably, people are concerned, especially those who are at risk for chronic illness from the virus.

The goal here is for the entire public to get the COVID-19 vaccine with ease, as soon as there’s a large supply – enough to go around. It will allow the United States citizens to start with a relatively large amount of vaccine while also continuously increasing the pool in the months to come. The aim is to vaccinate a large group and have several thousands of the vaccine ready. Several vaccination providers, such as qualified health centers, doctor’s offices, hospitals, and retail pharmacies.

  1. How soon will this COVID-19 vaccine impact a global level, and how will this vary by country?

The vaccine’s effectiveness will be determined by the vaccines’ quality and how quickly they’re rolled out. For instance, Pfizer-BioNtech starts to give immunity just after twelve days of receiving the first dose. Three weeks after that, the patient will get a second dose; and after, they will be fully immunized.

Both the US and UK are expected to receive enough of the approved vaccines like the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine to vaccinate approximately four percent of their entire population before December. Based on these UK and US estimates, reports suggest this might be an underexaggerated calculation, with the United States receiving many Moderna vaccines. However, they might not be able to inoculate a whole lot of people during the estimated period.

But in the real sense of it, three percent is way off what we need to be pulling right now as far as immunizing the entire population is concerned. However, because the highest-risk groups will be inoculated first, it is more likely that we might start to see the mortality rates dropping in early February.

Bonus Questions:

Will the approved vaccines end the current pandemic?

Developing a vaccine is just one of the few steps in putting an end to the pandemic. To achieve this, we must distribute these COVID-19 vaccines and a reliable sign that it’s truly working as expected.

Until the vaccination has been completed, we must continue to follow the government’s preventive measures and mask up until we can eradicate the virus.

After getting the vaccine, will life be back to normal after receiving the second injection?

Even though we desperately believe that life will be back to normal after getting vaccinated, that’s not entirely the case. Vaccines aren’t a hundred percent fail-proof, and getting inoculated individually isn’t just the only path to a greater community, especially when it comes to curtailing COVID-19.

Scientist believes that seventy to eighty percent of individuals have to be vaccinated for the world to move to the path of normalcy. The vaccination wasn’t designed to shed light on the impact of asymptomatic infection. And just as we all know, asymptomatic people can also transmit the viral disease.

Should those with the infection be immunized?

Based on the current recommendation advises that people infected with viral diseases still get vaccinated. While natural infection with COVID-19 gives you a significant amount of immunity, you won’t get full protection from it.

These vaccines are uniquely designed to neutralize the virus as well as its ability to infect you. There has also been some report of people with the infection developing the disease the second time. Being inoculated, repeat infection of the Corona Virus is reduced significantly and can help prevent further infection in those with the most vulnerability. Reiteratively, mask up, and keep yourself safe. We’ll fight this together.

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