5 Things to Know About a Covid-19 Vaccine
5 Things You Need to Know About a Covid-19 Vaccine
With the first round of the COVID vaccine becoming available to the frontline, questions still remain around the safety, efficacy, and distribution.
Here are the top 5 things you need to know:
- Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are currently being distributed under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). An FDA committee granted an EUA for the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 10, 2020 and the Moderna vaccine on December 18. 2020.
The two COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective for preventing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in people aged 18 years and older determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from large clinical trials. These data demonstrate that the known and potential benefits of this vaccine outweigh the known and potential harms of becoming infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19).
CDC has also developed a new tool, v-safe, as an additional layer of safety monitoring to increase the ability to detect any safety issues with COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe is a new smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines.
- How long does it take for the vaccine to become effective?
It takes at least a week after the second vaccine dose or approximately one month after you start the two-vaccine series to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer against COVID-19. With that in mind, it’s very important to continue the key safety practices of facemasks, hand hygiene, and social distancing.
- What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccination?
A COVID-19 vaccine can cause mild side effects after the first or second dose, including:
- Pain and redness at the injection site
- Feeling tired and run down a day after receiving the vaccine
- Headache, muscle aches, chills, joint pains, or fever
- Possible allergic reaction in individuals with known allergies
After you receive the vaccine, you’ll likely be monitored for 15 minutes to see if you have an immediate reaction. Most side effects happen within the first three days after vaccination and typically last only one to two days.
Currently, there is only safety data from the short-term duration of the study trial.
At this time, vaccine trials including children, or pregnant or breastfeeding women have not been completed. Vaccines can affect children differently than adults, so further testing will be necessary to make sure any coronavirus vaccine is safe for children.
- How long will the vaccine protect me against COVID-19?
While the vaccine prevented individuals in the clinical trials from getting COVID in the 90 days after completing the vaccine series, unfortunately, we don’t know how long protection will last beyond that time frame. Both Pfizer and Moderna began their clinical trials in late July, so they’ve been able to follow their volunteers for only six months. It’s conceivable that the vaccines can provide long-lasting protection, or effectiveness could fade away in under a year and require a booster shot annually.
- When can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Supplies of the vaccines will be limited for a while. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is overseeing the allocation of COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the United States. As the initial distributions to each state will be limited while additional vaccines are manufactured, federal guidance recommends that health care personnel and residents of skilled nursing facilities receive the vaccine first.
Supplies will increase over time, and all adults should be able to get vaccinated later in 2021. A COVID-19 vaccine may not be available for children until more clinical studies are completed.
You can read South Carolina’s Covid-19 Vaccination Plan or visit SC DHEC for more information.