Not long ago, I wrote an article talking about how to take precautions against getting COVID. Using face masks, avoiding social gatherings, social distancing, and hand washing were all essential things we had to do to avoid getting and spreading COVID. Now there is another important weapon in our fight against this disease since we have 3 different vaccines available for those 12 years of age and older. I am one of those fortunate enough to have received the vaccine, so I wanted to share my experiences to encourage others to get vaccinated.
The COVID vaccines were developed very quickly because the different phases of the trials were overlapped instead of having to wait for one phase to be completed before the next phase could start. That does not mean that any less precautions were taken, and the trials for each vaccine involved up to 40,000 participants to check for efficacy and side effects. Therefore the CDC gave approval to the vaccines for being both safe and effective.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not use live virus but instead use a new scientific breakthrough which is messenger RNA, which works by teaching your immune system to recognize the spokes or antigens on the virus so that it can attack and defeat COVID if you get exposed.
The efficacy of both the Pfizer and Modern vaccines is close to 95% after the 2nd dose. There is about 50% efficacy about one week after the first dose, and the 95% efficacy is reached after about one week after the second dose. The doses are 3 or 4 weeks apart, depending on which vaccine you get. Both are equally effective against COVID and have very few reported side effects.
The 3rd vaccine approved is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which uses modified adenovirus to start antibody production. After 28 days, it is about 66% effective at preventing symptomatic COVD and 85% effective at preventing a severe case leading to hospitalization or death. The benefit of this vaccine is that it is just one dose and can be refrigerated instead of stored frozen like the other 2 vaccines.
When I got my first dose, I did not even feel the shot being given. However I did feel a little soreness around midnight at the spot where the shot was given. There were no other side effects that I felt. I know many other people who also got the shot, and we all reported the same thing.
With the second dose, it is expected to have some mild symptoms. The first dose already primed your immune system to recognize the antigens, so when you get the second dose, it is normal to feel a little tired the next day. That is a good sign because it means your body has learned to respond to the antigens. They do make you wait 15 minutes after each shot just to be sure that you do not have any reactions to the vaccine.
Currently, those over 12 years and olds can get the Pfizer vaccine, and the other 2 vaccines (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) are being given to those 18 years and older. Due to the previous administration, the roll out of the vaccine has been very slow and the number of vaccines has been limited, but it is now getting better. We do need over 70% of the population to be vaccinated in order to end the pandemic. With newer more contagious strains, the virus is spreading even faster, however the vaccine is still effective against these new strains.
So if you are trying to decide if you should get the vaccine, ask yourself if you will stay isolated at home with no other human contact. If the answer is no, then please consider the vaccine for the safety of yourself, your family, your friends, and your community. Even if you get the vaccine, you still need to take the same precautions as before (mask wearing and social distancing), but at least you know you have much less likelihood of getting sick.
Sometimes the vaccine does not prevent someone from getting infected but instead just makes them asymptomatic, which means they can still spread the virus even though they are not showing any symptoms, So even though you may not be showing any symptoms, you could still be spreading the virus, especially to those who who have not gotten the vaccine yet. So that is
why it is importance to still wear a mask and to social distance.