Everything You Need to Know About
COVID-19 Vaccines in the US
Americans are receiving COVID19 vaccines daily, bringing in the hope of seeing an end to the pandemic that rattled the world, including the US.
Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are the three approved vaccines for use in the US. The vaccines have shown to be effective against the Coronavirus.
Let us look at the individual vaccines to understand them better:
The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is based on mRNA and was the first vaccine to receive authorization in the US.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the vaccine an emergency use authorization (EUA) in December 2020. Subsequently, administration of the vaccine started on 14 December 2020.
The vaccine is approved for people who are over 16 years of age. People need two doses of the vaccine three weeks apart.
According to the guidelines in place, people who receive the vaccine can consider themselves fully vaccinated after two weeks of receiving their second dose of the vaccine.
However, the vaccine has not yet been approved for administration to pregnant women. As such, it will help if pregnant women discuss this option with their doctors.
In February this year, Pfizer started clinical trials of its COVID19 vaccine in pregnant women. The results were encouraging.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women, who received the vaccine, showed a robust immune response to the vaccines. Their umbilical cord blood and breast milk showed the presence of antibodies.
Besides, the company has started clinical trials in children under the age of 16.
Further studies show that the vaccine is 90 percent effective in adults. And in children aged 12 to 15 years, the vaccine can be effective up to 100 percent, according to preliminary research.
According to recent studies, the vaccine is 94 percent effective in preventing Coronavirus transmission.
What is more, the vaccine seems to be effective against the new virus variants. Research shows that the vaccine is effective against the South African variant and British variant.
The vaccine entails side effects after administration. People may experience mild, flu-like side effects after receiving the vaccine. And after the second dose, there can be severe side effects.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), side-effects begin to show within a day or two after receiving the vaccine.
The common side effects reported are localized reactions like swelling or soreness at the injection site, fatigue, chills, fever, or a headache. And allergic reactions have also been reported.
The CDC recommends people who do not feel well after 24 hours of receiving the vaccine consult their doctor.
Moderna’s Coronavirus was the second vaccine to receive EAU from the FDA on 18 December 2010. It is also an mRNA vaccine.
People need to take two doses of the vaccine, separated by four weeks. People can consider themselves fully vaccinated after two weeks following the second dose.
Studies show that the vaccine is 90 percent effective in adults. Moderna is testing the effectiveness of the vaccine against the South African variant.
The company has approved the vaccine for adults over the age of 18. And, the vaccine has not yet got official approval for administering to pregnant women, who should consult a doctor if they want to take the vaccine.
A study has found interesting results of pregnant women receiving the vaccine. According to the study, pregnant women who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines have passed on antibodies to their children.
In a recent move, Moderna has started clinical trials in younger children.
People receiving the vaccine have side effects similar to other COVID19 vaccines. Side-effects of the vaccine include mild, temporary skin reactions, like redness around the injection site, for about a week after receiving the vaccine.
When it comes to storage, both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require freezing temperatures to remain potent. And healthcare facilities should have an ultra low-temperature freezer to store the vaccines effectively without letting them get damaged.
Johnson & Johnson
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a viral vector vaccine, followed the Moderna vaccine. The FDA granted a EUA to the vaccine on 27 February 2021.
However, the FDA and CDC have recommended a temporary pause on using the vaccine due to the incidence of six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in women who received the shot.
In the US, more than 6.8 million people have received the vaccine.
People require only one dose of the vaccine. They can consider themselves fully vaccinated two weeks after vaccination.
But the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has a lower efficacy rate, at 72 percent, than the other two vaccines in the US.
Notably, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is effective at preventing severe COVID19. During the clinical trial, no participant was hospitalized or died of the Coronavirus.
The vaccine can be administered in adults over 18 years of age, as per the authorizations.
Akin to the other two vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not yet tested in pregnant women. But, the company encourages pregnant women, desirous of taking the vaccine, speak with a doctor to decide about the vaccination.
The company will test the vaccine in pregnant women and younger children.
Johnson & Johnson also tested its vaccine in Latin America and South Africa, where there are two alarming Coronavirus variants. The lower reported efficacy rate might be due to the variants present.
The effectiveness of the vaccine in Latin America and South Africa was 66 and 64 percent, respectively.
Notably, the vaccinated people who were infected by the variant strains of the virus were not hospitalized.
Fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and pain at the injection site are the common side effects of the vaccine. The side effects persisted within seven days of getting the vaccine and were more common in people ages 18-59 than in people over 60 years of age.
Experts have said that the three vaccines are safe and effective, so do not fail to get yourself vaccinated, given the spread of the Coronavirus. The companies are also working to upgrade their vaccines to remove the side effects and deal with the new Coronavirus variants.
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