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COVID-19 Vaccines: Everything You Need to Know

As we all know, Covid-19 vaccine programs are already in an advanced stage with millions of people around the world having already been vaccinated. In the United States alone, where the vaccination program started in December 2020, over 170 million people have received at least one dose.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has authorized and recommended the use of the following vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson / Janssen.

Together with the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO), we encourage everyone to get the first vaccine available to them. All brands are safe, effective, and offer excellent protection against severe complications of COVID-19.

How do COVID vaccines work?

After recovering from a disease, you can get a certain amount of immunity against it. This is called natural immunity. However, experts do not know how long one’s natural immunity against COVID-19 would last. The risk itself far outweighs the benefits of developing natural immunity against it.

Vaccines, in general, help the body develop immunity against a disease. In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, a fully vaccinated person can become immune to the virus without having to get infected. This is called artificial immunity.

There are different types of vaccines and they all offer strong protection against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. However, antibodies against the virus are not created overnight.

After you get the shot, your body spends the coming weeks producing white blood cells. These include T-lymphocytes, which attack the infected cells in the body, and B-lymphocytes, which produce antibodies to attack the virus. So, if you get infected in the future, your body’s white blood cells can now remember how to fight the virus.

Why is getting vaccinated very important?

Following health protocols such as physical distancing, hand washing, and wearing masks are effective but not sustainable. Prolonged isolation has negative psychological effects and schools and businesses can’t stay closed forever or the economy will suffer. In order to stop the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed millions of lives, everyone should get vaccinated and practice health protocols at the same time.

For everything to go back to normal, for everyone to enjoy the outdoors and each other’s company, for society to return to how it used to be, everyone should boost their immunity against the virus. This can be achieved through vaccination.

What are the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

Here are the benefits you can enjoy from getting vaccinated against COVID:

  • Vaccines can keep you from spreading the virus.
  • Vaccines can prevent you from becoming critically ill if ever you get infected.
  • Vaccines do not only protect you but the people around you as well, especially those who are vulnerable and at risk for developing COVID-19 complications.
  • You can do activities without wearing masks and practicing physical distancing once you are fully vaccinated.

What COVID vaccines are available in the US?

The following brands of vaccines are currently authorized, recommended, and available in the US:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson / Janssen
Vaccine brandMinimum age to receive the vaccineNumber of dosesYou are fully vaccinated after
Pfizer-BioNTech12 years old2 doses, 21 days apart2 weeks after the second dose
Moderna18 years old2 doses, 28 days apart2 weeks after the second dose
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen18 years old1 dose2 weeks after the first dose

Answers to common questions about COVID-19 vaccines

To clear misconceptions about the vaccine, here are the answers to frequently asked questions:

Are COVID vaccines safe?

Yes. All the vaccines underwent the required clinical trials and were proven safe and effective before they were approved and authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the WHO.

Will I get sick with COVID if I get vaccinated?

No. The vaccines will not give you COVID-19 because they do not contain live SARS-CoV-2 virus.

What are some common side effects of COVID vaccines?

You are going to experience some side effects after you receive the vaccine. These are normal reactions of your body to the vaccine as it starts to build protection against COVID. Although these may affect your ability to perform daily activities, they generally last only for a few days.

The common side effects include:

  • Pain, swelling, and redness in the arm that received the shot
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea

You may increase your fluid intake and get some rest to ease your discomfort. You can also consult our doctors at UrgentCareMds to know what over-the-counter medicines can help you manage the side effects.

Can I still get COVID after being fully vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated individuals are not 100% immune to COVID-19, so they can still get infected. No vaccine can offer 100% protection, no matter what disease they are used for. However, you are protected from becoming critical and developing severe complications.

Can a vaccinated person give COVID to someone who’s unvaccinated?

There is a slim chance of this happening, but it may happen to those who belong to the vulnerable population. People with poor immune systems, those with chronic health conditions, and the elderly may not have the best response to the vaccines. Studies are still being conducted to monitor the effects of the vaccine on these patients.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for pregnant women?

Yes. The CDC encourages pregnant and breastfeeding women to receive the vaccine, especially because they are at an increased risk of developing severe COVID-19 complications than non-pregnant women.

How do I know if I’m fully vaccinated?

This depends on the vaccine:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech – 2 weeks after the second dose
  • Moderna – 2 weeks after the second dose
  • Janssen – 2 weeks after a single dose

Until you are fully vaccinated, you still need to follow minimum health standards for COVID-19.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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