4 Things You Should Know About the COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines

By now, you or someone you know has been affected by COVID-19. If this person was lucky, they were able to recover at home with mild to moderate symptoms. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for everyone. The disease had a devastating effect across the globe. In the U.S. alone, over 526,000 died from COVID-19.

Fortunately, we are beginning to see a brighter future. As of March 2021, there are, three vaccines are authorized and recommended in the U.S. to prevent COVID-19:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen

1. What is the difference between the COVID-19 vaccines?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are Messenger (mRNA) vaccines. mRNA vaccines use lab-made mRNA molecules that code for parts of a virus. They deliver instructions to teach your cells how to make a protein, or a part of a protein to trigger an immune response.

In this case, the mRNA molecules code for COVID-19’s spike protein.

Part of its response includes releasing antibodies, which protect you from getting COVID-19 if the actual virus enters the body.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. It uses a modified version of a different virus as a vector to deliver essential instructions to your cells. Once it enters one of your cells, it uses its machinery to produce a harmless spike protein, like the one found on the outside of the virus that causes COVID-19. Your immune system recognizes it doesn’t belong there and starts producing antibodies and activating T-cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection.

2. How old do you have to be to get vaccinated?

To receive the Pfizer vaccine, you must be 16 years and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available to those 18 years and older.

3. When are you considered fully vaccinated?

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses. You can get the Pfizer vaccine 21 days from the first shot. You need to wait 28 days after your first shot with the Moderna vaccine before the second dose.

As of now, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one vaccine. Because this vaccine is slightly less effective than the mRNA vaccines available, Johnson & Johnson plans to test if receiving a second dose two months from the first one will offer better protection.

4. What are the side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccines?

Each of the COVID-19 vaccines can cause mild side-effects, none of which are as bad as moderate to severe cases of COVID-19. Common side-effects for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines include chills, headache, pain, tiredness, or redness/inflammation at the injection site. On infrequent occasions, the vaccine can trigger an allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Fortunately, it can easily be treated with epinephrine.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has the least potential to cause side-effects. Those reported include fatigue, fever, headache, pain in a muscle or a group of muscles, or injection-site pain.

Any side-effects from any of the COVID-19 vaccines usually resolve within a day or two.

If you do experience COVID-19 symptoms after your vaccination, it is possible you were exposed to the virus before or after you were vaccinated.

If you think you have COVID-19, explore Vivera’s home test box.

Why should you get vaccinated?

Getting vaccinated is not only a critical component in ending the pandemic, but it’s the best way to protect yourself and others from the harmful effects of the disease. Each vaccine has been shown to reduce the chances of developing COVID-19 significantly. What’s more, even if a vaccinated person does contract COVID-19, their symptoms will likely be minimal and probably won’t require hospitalization.

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