COVID-19 vaccines can be a real lifesaver. Read this to know the answers to the common questions and doubts on COVID-19 vaccines.
In India earlier, Covaxin, Covishield, Sputnik V, Johnson & Johnson, and ZyKoV-D were authorized by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization. Currently, there are 38 approved vaccines (that are approved by different national government bodies) and ten vaccines that are listed by WHO (World Health Origanization) for Emergency Use Listing (EUL). The vaccines granted Emergency Use Listing (EUL) by WHO are:
Sputnik V (Gamaleya).
Ad26.COV2.S (Johnson & Johnson).
Spike Vax (Moderna).
Comirnaty (Pfizer and BioNTech).
Covexin (Bharat Biotech).
Covovax and Covishield (Serum Institute of India).
The term emergency use authorization has a regulatory mechanism for the usage of medicines and vaccines. This mechanism helps in reducing or preventing the negative impact of symptoms that are caused by COVID-19. Several critical aspects, like safety and security, are evaluated in this emergency authorization.
The vaccines approved by the World Health Organization have successfully completed their phase III trials, post which they have received approval for safe use in people. In India, Covaxin and Covishield had completed their phase III trials. Dr. Reddy's also had completed the phase III clinical trial for Sputnik Light and sought approval from DCGI (Drug Controller General of India) to use the vaccine as a standalone vaccine in January 2022 and was granted emergency use authorization (EUA) in India as a single-dose Sputnik Light Covid-19 vaccine in February 2022.
There are three clinical trials required for a vaccine. The pre-clinical trials are carried out on laboratory animals. The first phase analyses the safety of the vaccine and the immune response of an individual. The phase two trials also analyze the safety and capacity of an individual to produce an immune response. The third phase of the clinical trial will include many participants to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine against the particular disease.
After successful trials, COVID-19 vaccinations are recommended for children. Though children are less susceptible to disease morbidity and mortality, incidents of severe COVID and associated deaths in small children are being reported with emerging virulent strains of coronavirus. Hence, the Food and Drug Administration has approved Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) for children aged 5 through 12. And trials for vaccination of kids below the age of 5 are also being held.
Vaccination is provided to pregnant women with great precaution. Studies have shown that women who received vaccination during pregnancy developed higher levels of antibodies against COVID-19 compared to those who were not pregnant. A special mention should be given to Moderna and Pfizer, as they are being administered to pregnant women, and it also enhances the immunity of both the mother and the baby. The effectiveness of the vaccine is not thoroughly understood in the case of pregnant women. The safety standards and functioning of the vaccines are still questionable as far as vaccines are concerned. But if a pregnant woman is at an increased risk of COVID-19 due to increased cases in her surrounding or due to the nature of her occupation, then she needs to get vaccinated as the benefits outweigh the risks.
The vaccines Covishied and Covaxin require storage and transportation temperatures of +2 to +8 degrees Celsius. This is maintained with the help of active and passive cold chain equipment that is available in India. Vaccines like Pfizer should be maintained at an extremely cold temperature of -70 degrees Celsius. This temperature is colder than the temperature of the winter season in Antarctica. The Moderna vaccine requires a cold chain temperature of -20 degrees Celsius and has to be stored in the freezer.
Healthcare workers and front-line workers are at the highest risk of exposure from COVID-19. They are given high priority for COVID-19 vaccination. The family members of healthcare workers need to get the vaccination according to the standard protocol of the government.
No, you cannot choose the type of vaccine you receive. The vaccines will be provided to different parts of the country according to the distribution plan and availability. But if more than one type of COVID-19 vaccine is available at your place, you have the liberty to choose from the available options.
Yes, face masks are necessary even after receiving the vaccination. Only with the help of protective equipment, can one get protection from the risk of viruses. Vaccination can provide only additional support.
For a proper immune response to be generated, it might take 28 days after vaccination with a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, the development of immunity might vary from one person to another.
The vaccines can provide only a certain degree of protection against new strains of COVID-19. The vaccines that were prepared to fight against COVID-19 had recently lost their complete efficiency due to different mutations of the virus. But they do prevent disease severity and reduce the need for hospitalization.
Both vaccines do a fair job in providing protection against COVID-19 infection. These vaccines greatly reduce the disease severity and death rate of infected older adults. It is not possible to compare the positive and negative factors of these two vaccines.
The following people are considered as a contraindication for COVID-19 vaccination:
People with allergic reactions.
If you have a fever right before your vaccination.
If you currently have COVID-19.
The commonly noted adverse effects are a pain in the injected site, tiredness, and fever. All these symptoms can be reduced with the help of medications like Paracetamol.
The ill effects of alcohol consumption and its interaction with the COVID-19 vaccine are not identified yet. However, it is not advisable to consume alcohol to prevent abnormal complications.
The effect of the COVID-19 vaccine on the fertility of women is a complete myth. There is no vaccine that can affect the fertility of women. Before the initiation of vaccines, proper trials are carried out by healthcare workers. So such a side effect might not be true.
People who were previously affected by COVID-19 did not show a complete development of immunity even after getting cured of the condition. Therefore, the vaccination is recommended for people who have recovered too. Such people can take the vaccine four to eight weeks after recovery.
Yes, people with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart conditions, renal problems, and pulmonary conditions can receive this vaccine. Also, the vaccines reduce the mortality rate in these patients.
The two immunity issues related to the vaccine are immunosuppression and immunodeficiency. Immunosuppression is seen in HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) patients, whereas immunodeficiency is seen in people with congenital disorders.
Yes, there are no restrictions on taking the regular medications. Stopping other medications abruptly can cause other complications, so it is not recommended.
Patients with bleeding disorders should take the vaccines only under the supervision of a medical professional. If these patients were admitted to the hospital recently, then they are advised to delay the process of vaccination.
There are no special precautions to be followed. If the receiver of the vaccine gets any abnormal side effects, they are advised to visit the doctor immediately.
Breastfeeding women are advised to get their vaccinations as soon as possible. Many breastfeeding mothers who received COVID-19 vaccination were successful in developing antibodies for themselves and their babies. Researchers from Harvard, Brigham, and a women’s hospital show that breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women had a strong immune response when compared to those who were not pregnant or breastfeeding. In addition to this, the placenta and umbilical cord blood were examined, and it was identified that babies who were given birth by mothers who received vaccines showed an elevated level of immunity.
Last reviewed at:
19 Jan 2023 - 6 min read
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