Answers to FAQs About the Covid-19 Vaccines

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Development of the first Covid-19 Vaccine Operation Warp Speed, a program created by the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), enabled extensive research to produce a vaccine starting early May 2020. Through OWS, other projects were set aside to make available 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by January of 2021.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was produced and approved in nine months and granted emergency use authorization (EUA) on December 11, 2020. The traditional development of vaccines was expedited because the manufacturing of the vaccine happened alongside clinical trials. 

 

According to Virginia Pitzer, an associate professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut, “[the research] was building off a lot of research that has been going on for years. It certainly was a much faster deployment than is typical of vaccine deployment, but that doesn’t mean that steps were skipped or any of the important aspects of the evaluation were overlooked.”



How the Vaccines Work and Other Questions Answered 

With the release of two Covid-19 vaccinations into the public, many concerns have arisen in regard to its origins, safety, and effectiveness. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the vaccines

How do the vaccines work? 

The new mRNA vaccines direct our cells to create a spike protein, a harmless piece found on the surface of the Covid-19 virus, that triggers an immune response. When our cells begin to recognize the virus, antibodies are created to help us fight the virus and prevent us from getting it in the future. 

 

How will the vaccine be distributed? 

Health care workers, people in long-term care facilities, frontline workers, people 75 and older, and other essential workers are the first several groups that will be vaccinated. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, all other adults could start getting vaccinated as early as April 2021. 

Will there be enough for everyone? 

Since there aren’t enough readily available doses, the vaccine will be given to those who need it most first. To distribute the vaccine to all will take time, but distribution is expected to speed up once more vaccines are approved. 

 

How much will the vaccine cost me? 

The vaccine is free, but there are hidden charges that you might become vulnerable to. Americans who have health coverage that doesn’t fall under the new rules passed by Congress in the spring may have to pay a doctor visit fee when getting vaccinated. 

 

Will it hurt? Are there any side effects? 

When being injected in your arm, the Covid-19 vaccine is similar to any other vaccination. However, there are more short-lived side effects, including fatigue, headaches, chills, and muscle pain, which appear more likely after the second dose. 

 

Do I need the vaccine if I was exposed to Covid-19 and have recovered? 

If you already have Covid-19, taking the vaccine will prevent you from getting seriously ill and help you recover faster. Additionally, getting vaccinated prevents others around you from acquiring your symptoms and slows the spread of the virus. 

Photo obtained from BBC

  • January 21, 2021