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Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccine & their Answers

Towards the end of 2019, everything we knew as normal changed. The first cases of coronavirus did not bring much agony but at the start of 2020, we all knew all was not well. Then, masks, washing hands, and use of sanitizers became the global anthem. In mid-2020, the numbers had grown to unprecedented levels.

At the end of 2020, there was a glimpse of hope with many vaccines listed under test. However, many questions lingered through our minds with numerous questions without answers. Each day, everything is becoming clearer, but we are not out of the woods yet.

In this article, we will answer some of the questions that you have been asking about COVID-19 vaccines. We may not have conclusive answers to some of the concerns raised from the initial stages of the process.

Most Common COVID-19 FAQs

1.    Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) take all vaccines under test through a rigorous examination process. Before mass production and application, the vaccines must undergo several trials on animals and small samples. Through this process, the risk of any vaccine accessible to the public is quite low. The global regulators and national institution also keep track of any adverse effects after licensing the vaccine.

2.    What are some of the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines?

The side effects of COVID-19 vaccines differ. In most cases, the effects are mild, and some people don’t experience any. Some of the most common COVID-19 vaccines include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle pain

Though rare, there are cases of possible extreme side effects. Unconfirmed reports show probability of such effects like blood clots in the arteries.

3.    Are the vaccines safe for breastfeeding and expectant mothers?

Pregnant women are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 and adverse effects of the disease. Therefore, expectant women are among the priority groups in vaccination. However, you can consult a physician for further evaluation of your situation before taking the jab.

According to Center for Disease Control, COVID-19 vaccines are safe for lactating mothers because of how they work. However, there is not enough data to ascertain the effects of the vaccines on the baby, milk production or the mother. But recent reports show there is a possibility of the baby receiving immunity from breast milk of an immunized mother.

4.    Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for children?

According to the US FDA, children above the age of 12 can receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Although there are lower cases of the disease among kids, they are also prone to infection. Therefore, those eligible are requested to go for the jab. The regulatory bodies are taking precaution in the administration of the vaccine in young children because of probable side effects.

5.    How do I get vaccinated against COVID-19?

In most countries, the vaccines are accessible through public and private hospitals. In most cases, the vaccines are free.  The US federal government has set aside funds to finance the vaccination. The cost of vaccines ranges between $3 and $32 but no citizen should pay for the jab.

6.    What is the meaning of vaccine efficacy?

Vaccine efficacy refers to the pathogen reduction in the body of vaccine recipients compared to those who are not vaccinated. The efficacies of COVID-19 vaccines differ. The WHO has set the COVID-19 efficacy threshold at 50% because of the severity of the disease and urgency.

7.    What are the efficacy percentage of different vaccine?

The efficacy rates of each vaccine differ across age groups. It tends to decrease among senior citizens. The efficiency also varies depending in prevention against severity of the disease.

Vaccine

Efficacy

Pfizer-BioNTech

95%

Moderna

94.1%

Johnson & Johnson

86%

Oxford-AstraZeneca

76%

Novavax

86.3%

8.    Which is the best COVID-19 vaccine?

At the moment, the supply of COVID-19 vaccines is limited. Therefore, we might not have the privilege of options. But Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna might be the frontrunners. The efficacy rate and mild to no side effects makes the two vaccines a good option.

9.    How many doses of the vaccine do I need to be 100% protected?

The full vaccination of COVID-19 ranges from 2 to 3 doses depending on the type. The vaccine reduces severity of the disease but does not guarantee 100% protection against the virus. There will still be cases of infection even after the vaccination. However, the effects will be reduced and spread to others will also go down.

10. Do COVID-19 vaccines provide 100% protection?

COVID-19 vaccines do not guarantee 100% protection against the virus. However, the probability of infection and infecting others is significantly reduced.

11. Can I get COVID-19 after vaccination?

According to Center for Disease Control some people will still get the disease even after vaccination. However, the severity and rate of spread will not be as high. Therefore, you need to get the full dosage of the jab to protect yourself and those around you.

12. How many COVID-19 vaccines are currently registered?

At the moment, there are 3 vaccines accessible in the USA: Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson. However, administration of J & J was halted after some probable cases of blood clot after vaccination were reported. Globally, there are tens of vaccines given the green light and several are still under test and trial.

13. Is the COVID-19 jab free?

Most countries have set aside funds to facilitate vaccination of its citizens. There are also donations to countries where resources to procure the vaccines are limited. Regulatory bodies like WHO have warned against commercialization of the vaccines at this stage because of the urgency of the situation.

14. Can COVID-19 patients still get the vaccine when sick?

It is not advisable to get the COVID-19 vaccine when one is having the disease. You should first recover before receiving the jab.

15. Which underlying conditions can limit one’s access to the vaccine?

Most underlying conditions expose the patient to high risk of severe effects of COVID-19. Therefore, people with immune destabilizing conditions like HIV are listed among priority groups. There are rare cases if any of adverse effects of the vaccines on people with underlying condition. The vaccines are accessible to all people above 12 years.

16. What are mRNA vaccines and how do they work?

A messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) refers to create immune response through creation of a copy of messenger RNA. COVID-19 vaccine Moderna and Pfizer are in this category. They produce a harmless virus that counters the activities of the corona virus to create immunity.

17. For how long will the COVID-19 vaccine offer protection?

COVID-19 vaccines have only been in existence for less than a year. Therefore, there are no conclusive studies to show for how long COVID-19 vaccine-induced immunity will last. However, Pfizer and Moderna immunity can last for more than 6 months according to data from the vaccinated individuals. It is also important to note there are mutants from the first strain of the virus which has made it difficult to determine immunity period.

18. Can I get the COVID-19 jab during my menses?

There are no adverse effects for getting the COVID-19 vaccine during your period cycle. Doctors demystified concerns that getting the jab during our menses could be less effective. There is no connection between COVID-19 vaccine and menstruation.

19. Who cannot get the COVID-19 vaccine and why?

Although the COVID-19 vaccines are safe for most people, there are exceptions. Experts have warned against vaccination of people with severe allergic reactions to any of the elements in the vaccine. Anaphylactic reactions were reported in December after use of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor before going for the jab.

Children under 12 years are also exempted from the vaccine. There are no trials yet to give a go ahead with the vaccination in children.

20. Is it okay to mix different types of COVID-19 vaccines?

We don’t know yet. Experts are conducting trials to know the effectiveness of combining different doses of vaccines. However, they advise it is better to use similar jabs at the moment before we get the findings of the report. UNHS is conducting trials to determine whether mixing 2 vaccines can boost the effectiveness or boost immunity.