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Things to Know About a COVID-19 Vaccine

Published On Jan 07, 2021, Updated On Apr 23, 2021

All over the world, scientists have been working to search for a safe and effective vaccine that can fight against the novel Coronavirus, in order to safeguard people against the deadly disease. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted authorization of the first COVID-19 vaccine(Pfizer-BioNTech) for usage in individuals above 16 years.

Things to Know About a COVID-19 Vaccine

How Do Vaccines Function?

Vaccines help in preventing infection by developing an immune response inside the body. They help the body in producing antibodies, which also offers protection to the body in case an individual gets exposed to the germs in the future.

How will the Vaccine Help in Preventing COVID-19?

The virus that causes COVID-19 has protein spikes present on all the viral particles. These protein spikes then help viruses in attaching to the cell and further cause the coronavirus. The COVID-19 vaccines in development are specifically designed to assist the body to identify the spikes and then eventually fight against them. A potent vaccine will safeguard an individual by reducing the possibility of getting COVID-19, in case they contract the Coronavirus.

How to know that the COVID-19 Vaccine is Effective and Safe?

COVID-19 vaccine needs to clear specific standards and tests to be declared effective and safe. Scientific data accumulated from researches by organisations like the Food and Drug Administration(FDA), National Institutes for Health, and National Academy of Sciences, helps in deciding whether the new vaccines and drugs can become available to the general population.

COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

Side Effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are tested in clinical and pre-clinical trials. The commonly approved coronavirus vaccines are:

  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Headache
  • Pain in Muscle
  • Chills
  • Pain in Joints
  • Fever
  • Redness or swelling at the injection site
  • Nausea
  • Feeling unwell
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Symptoms experienced by most of the individuals are moderate and mild, while for other individuals it can be more serious. Side effects can last in a person for an average of 1-2 days. It has been reported that few individuals who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine outside the clinical trials have experienced serious allergic reactions post the vaccine. Moreover, the FDA agency has recommended that individuals who have experienced serious allergic reactions to the first dose of a two-dose vaccine, should not go for the second dose.

Can Children Receive the Coronavirus Vaccine?

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the vaccine developed for Coronavirus to get distributed to people aged 16 years and above. However, children under the age of 16 years have not been authorized the Coronavirus vaccine. Vaccine trials for individuals in the age of 12-18 years with proper consent from their parents are in progress. For children, especially below 12 years in age, the practical aspects of giving vaccination to children concerning their effectiveness and safety may be delayed till 2021 or even 2022.

Vaccine Safety

While developing the vaccine, safety is the most important concern for everyone. Before releasing the vaccine to the general public, public health officials and scientists must be confident regarding the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine. Also, it will take around various months (for the year 2021) for the vaccine to get distributed, manufactured, and administered to the people. The existent safety standards and efforts like masking and proper isolation are still significant in order to safeguard ourselves, our families, and other people with whom we come into contact.

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Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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