The media has created a COVID-19 vaccine frenzy. There are several healthcare professionals sporting their vaccinated arms on social media. Some nurses were caught fainting on live TV. Are PCR tests valid? How long do COVID antibodies last in the human body? Why is “Rhona” so confusing?
Here are 6 facts that you need to know about the ongoing COVID vaccines and testing:
- COVID-19 Vaccines
Currently, there are 2 vaccines authorized and recommended for COVID-19:
Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 Vaccine
Type of vaccine: mRNA
Number of shots: 2, 21 days apart
Does not contain latex, eggs, preservatives
Recommended for: people 16 years of age and over
Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine
Type of Vaccine: mRNA
Number of shots: 2 shots, 28 days apart
Does not contain: Latex, eggs, preservatives
Recommended for: people over the age of 18
- COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects
The most common side effects for both Pfizer-BioNtech, and Moderna vaccine are pain, swelling and redness on the vaccinated site. Chills, tiredness and headache are side effects are felt throughout the rest of the body which were more commonly seen after the second dose of the vaccine. Side effects that caused hospitizations and or death were few in clinical trials.
Bell’s palsy which is a specific form of sudden weakness in one side of the face, is due to swelling of the facial nerves, which is responsible for moving many facial nerves. In the Moderna group, four individuals out of 30,000 reported facial paralysis, 3 who had received the vaccine, and one who received the placebo. Four of the 43,000 participants in the Pfizer trial developed nerve paralysis. All of these were in the vaccine arm of the trial.
- Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Cause Birth Defects Or Sterilization?
There have been rumors the vaccines cause birth defects and possible sterilization. Pfizer spokeswoman Jerica Pitts said that “It has been incorrectly suggested that COVID-19 vaccines will cause infertility because of a shared amino acid sequence in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and a placental protein. The sequence, however, is too short to plausibly give rise to autoimmunity.”
- Vaccination Considerations for People Who Are Pregnant And Breast Feeding
While the chances for these severe health effects are low, pregnant people with COVID-19 have an increased risk for disease, including illness that results in ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, and death compared with non-pregnant women of reproductive age. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19.
There are limited data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant. No safety concerns were demonstrated in rats that received Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before or during pregnancy; studies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are ongoing. Studies in people who are pregnant are planned.
- What types of tests exist for COVID-19?
There are 2 different types of tests for COVID-19:
- A diagnostic test can show if you have an active coronavirus infection and should take steps to quarantine or isolate yourself from others. Currently there are two types of diagnostic tests– molecular tests, such as RT-PCR tests, that detect the virus’s genetic material, and antigentests that detect specific proteins from the virus.
- An antibody test looks for antibodies that are made by your immune system in response to a threat, such as a specific virus. Antibodies can help fight infections. Antibodies can take several days or weeks to develop after you have an infection and may stay in your blood for several weeks or more after recovery. Because of this, antibody tests should not be used to diagnose COVID-19. At this time researchers do not know if the presence of antibodies means that you are immune to in the future.
- Should You Get The COVID-19 Vaccine
Based on information from previous vaccines, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. According to the CDC vaccines will be an integral tool in helping prevent infection and spread of the COVID-19 virus. Stopping a pandemic requires all the tools available.