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How can I get a coronavirus vaccine? Covid vaccine questions answered

The doctor is preparing the administrations for the Covid-19 mass vaccination program for health workers on February 4, 2021 in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.

NurPhoto | NurPhoto | Getty Images

It’s no surprise that questions related to the coronavirus pandemic have dominated search engines over the past year.

More recently, and with the advent of vaccines, many people are wondering when and where they can get a sting, what (if any) side effects there might be, what happens after a first dose, and how long immunity to Covid-19 might last .

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

How can I get a coronavirus vaccine?

Where, and just as importantly, when you will be able to get a coronavirus vaccine will depend on several factors including the country and state you are in, your age and, in some cases, your occupation.

Serious illnesses can also help determine how quickly you can get a Covid vaccine.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) make recommendations on who should be offered the vaccine first. But each state has its own plan for deciding who to get vaccinated first and how to get vaccines. It is recommended that you contact your local health department for more information in your area.

In the UK, there are four priority groups to receive the vaccine first: the elderly, nursing home workers and health workers, those over 70 and those at extreme risk. The vaccine is to be introduced in more priority groups from mid-February (essentially for all over 50-year-olds). To receive the Covid vaccine, you must have been contacted by your doctor and invited to a vaccination appointment.

In the EU struggling with supplies, the first doses are for priority groups set by the block: health professionals and those over 60. However, how and when you can access the vaccine depends on which country you live in. A full list of vaccination strategies and priority groups for EU members of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control can be found here.

Which Covid Vaccine is the Best?

This question has been asked several times in the past few months, especially after late-stage clinical trials have been conducted by major vaccine manufacturers with varying degrees of effectiveness. It has also become an important question as the regions also deal with supply issues.

For example, the UK approved and introduced the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine before the AstraZeneca vaccine, but it is more accessible because it is made in the UK

James Shaw, 82, receives Oxford University / AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from Advanced Nurse Justine Williams on January 4th, 2021 at Lochee Health Center in Dundee, Scotland, UK.

Andy Buchanan | Reuters

How much protection do I have after a first dose?

It’s not uncommon for the coronavirus vaccines to require a starting dose followed by a “booster” shot. Many vaccines take two doses to work.

The first dose will cause the body to recognize the virus and prepare your immune system to fight it, while the booster shot will boost the body’s immune response. It is important to note that it takes some time to build up immunity – it usually takes one to two weeks for immunity to start building – rather than immediately after receiving the first dose.

According to Moderna, the vaccine is 80.2% effective 28 days after the first dose (although it takes some time to build this immunity, it is about 50% effective 14 days after the first dose, data shows), while Pfizer this said and BioNTech’s vaccine is 52%. effective after a single dose, but there have been several studies arguing that it could be lower and higher.

The CDC recommends that the Pfizer BioNTech doses be administered three weeks (21 days) apart and the Moderna doses every one month (28 days) and no earlier than these intervals. When it comes to whether there can be a longer delay before the second dose is given, experts and vaccine makers are divided.

AstraZeneca said Wednesday that increasing the interval before the first and second dose will improve the vaccine’s effectiveness, but Pfizer and BioNTech have warned of the delay, saying there is no data to support such a policy. Delaying the second dose has become standard policy in the UK as it aims to provide partial protection to as many people as possible.

Oxford University researchers published a study on Wednesday that found the AstraZeneca vaccine to be 76% effective from day 22 after the starting dose and up to 90 days afterwards. This indicated that there was an interval of 12 weeks between doses.

Are there any side effects after the coronavirus vaccine?

Vaccine studies have carefully monitored study participants for side effects from their candidates, and none of the vaccines currently approved in the US, UK or EU have caused any serious side effects.

Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to any other vaccine injection in the past is advised to report this before receiving a coronavirus vaccine. The CDC has a lot of information about vaccines and allergies here.

Policy makers said coronavirus vaccine recipients could expect “very common side effects”, often associated with immunization. According to the UK government, these can be:

  • You have a painful, heavy feeling, and tenderness in the arm that you received your injection in. This is usually worst a day or two after the vaccine.
  • Feeling tired.
  • A headache.
  • General pain or mild flu-like symptoms.

The UK guidelines state: “Although a fever for 2 to 3 days is not uncommon, a high temperature is uncommon and may indicate that you have Covid-19 or another infection. An unusual side effect is swelling of the glands. ” It is said that if symptoms worsen, individuals should seek advice from a doctor or nurse.

How long does immunity last?

This is the million dollar question that vaccine manufacturers and researchers are still waiting for.

With the coronavirus vaccines currently being rolled out and the vaccination programs just starting in December, it’s too early to know how long the vaccine-induced immune response will last.

Vaccine manufacturers are now also turning to the development of so-called “second generation vaccines” which can be used to combat variants of the virus that has emerged, particularly in Great Britain and South Africa.

On Wednesday, pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and CureVac announced that they were trying to develop Covid vaccines that target multiple variants in one product.

People infected with Covid are likely to have some form of immunity for at least five months, initial results from a large study in the UK in January showed.

Healthcare workers will receive a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from Sinovac Biotech Ltd. on Thursday February 4, 2021. at the Istora Senayan Sports Complex in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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