HomeOpinion & AnalysisThe truth about the available Covid-19 vaccines

The truth about the available Covid-19 vaccines

health talk:with Dr Johannes Marisa

It was over two months ago when the first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine was given on the December 14, 2020 to a New York nurse who was on the front line of the Covid-19 fight. A sigh of relief was breathed and everyone hoped Covid-19 was to be put under control in no time. Today, at least 14 000 deaths occur daily with more than 500 000 new cases of the coronavirus being recorded globally.

It is still a catastrophe and the world economy is in the doldrums because of the devastating effects of the virus.

So many stories have been circulating around Covid-19 vaccines and some of these are not good for the world if the vaccines are proved to be effective.

So far, there are at least four types of the vaccines in use, the Pfizer-BioNTech, the Moderna, AstraZeneca and the Russian Sputnik V.

The Pfizer vaccine is given in two shots, the second jab coming after 21 days, while the Moderna has its second shot after four weeks.

The therapeutic effects of the vaccines start to show after about two weeks of receiving the last shot, which is at least five weeks after the first shot.

There are many questions which have been asked about the vaccines and below are some of them with their answers:

Is Covid-19 vaccine made of a live virus?

Covid-19 vaccine is a messenger RNA vaccine, which has no virus but just proteins to stimulate your body to fight Covid-19 in times of an attack.

This is different from vaccines like measles that contain live but attenuated virus. The messenger RNA (m RNA) from the Covid-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cells, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the m RNA does not interact with our DNA at all.

How are the available vaccines given?

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are given as shots in the muscle of the upper arm.

For those who are suspicious of some common constituents that can trigger allergies, both vaccines do not contain eggs, preservatives and latex.

Are there age restrictions for the vaccines?

The Pfizer vaccine is recommended for people who are above 16 years of age while the Moderna one is recommended for those who are above 18 years.

In cases of shortages of the vaccines, it is imperative that high- risk groups be given high priority and health care workers should receive the first doses.

After getting the Covid-19 vaccine, will one test positive to Covid-19 from the vaccine?

Neither the recently authorised or recommended vaccines can cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.

However, if your body develops an immune response, there is a possibility that you may test positive on some anti-body tests.

Will a Covid-19 vaccine protect me from getting sick with Covid-19?

Covid-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognise and fight the virus that causes infection, thus protecting you against sickness.

Being protected from getting sick is important because even though many people with Covid-19 have a mild illness, some have serious illnesses while others have long-term complications.

If one already had Covid-19 and recovered, is it necessary to get vaccinated?

Due to the severe health risks associated with Covid-19 and the fact that re-infection with Covid-19 is possible, vaccine should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had Covid-19 infection. So get the vaccine.

Is it safe to get a vaccine if one wants to get pregnant soon?

Based on current knowledge, experts believe that Covid-19 vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to a person trying to become pregnant in the short or long-term.

More studies are, however, being undertaken to ascertain further negative effects which may arise.

What are the anticipated side effects of the vaccination?

There may be redness, swelling or pain around the injection site.

Fatigue, fever, headache and aching limbs are also not uncommon in the first three days after vaccination.

These normal vaccine reactions are usually mild and subside after a few days.

They show that the vaccine is working because it stimulates the immune system and the body forms antibodies against the infection that is only feigned by the vaccination.

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