The year 2020 has been a challenging one, mostly because of the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of people are infected. Most survive; many didn’t. As the COVID-19 pandemic ranges, the only way to win the battle is with a vaccine. Vaccines from different companies that have gone through testing are okay for distribution. Here are 10 important things you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines as you prepare for them.
1. You can trust the COVID-19 vaccines.
Several vaccines are from pharmaceutical and drug manufacturing giants. These companies are the ones responsible for producing many useful drugs today. After producing COVID-19 vaccines, they have to go through rigorous tests.
Government bodies like the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institutes for Health, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are involved. They make use of scientific data from research to determine if the vaccine is safe. Any vaccines approved by such bodies are safe for consumption (1) since the bodies are the ones responsible for keeping the people safe from almost all types of drugs.
2. Certain demographics will get it first.
Once the COVID-19 vaccines arrive, certain demographics will get them first. Health workers, police, and the military will be among the first people to get it. People 65 years and above will also be first to receive it because they are the most vulnerable.
Also, people who are sick and fighting for their lives will get it as well. After these, authorities will determine the next set of people to get it. There are two dozes of the vaccine. People get the first dose first, and the second one comes a few days later.
3. COVID-19 vaccines will protect you from getting COVID-19.
The vaccines will protect you from getting COVID-19. After getting it, the vaccine will act as a shield to protect you against infection. It helps your body build immunity against the virus so that it can attack it anytime it sees it in your body.
Most of the vaccines will help to reduce the severity of the disease. How long the protection will last is still a subject of debate. But, some people will still transmit the virus even after getting a vaccination.
4. Most people will experience side effects.
After taking COVID-19 vaccines, many people will experience some side effects. The discomfort means the vaccine is working and building defenses against infection. Possible side effects include injection pain, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, and chills. Some people also experience joint pain, fever, nausea, and feeling unwell.
The side effects last for about 24 hours to 48 hours. Some people’s symptoms may or may not be severe. Many will experience only mild symptoms or side effects (2). People who experience severe allergies after taking the first dose won’t be able to take the second one.
5. Covid-19 vaccines are generally free.
COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone. The pandemic has led to so many economic issues around the world. Governments are treating it as a public health issue without the intention to profit.
Even the companies making the vaccines are supplying it at a very thin margin. Insurers say they will not bill patients who take the vaccine. Health providers who give people vaccines will receive reimbursement.
6. The vaccine is the major way to stop the pandemic.
Coronavirus has become a global health pandemic that has brought the world to its knees. While several measures like lockdowns are reasonable, the vaccine remains the biggest weapon.
The vaccines will ensure there is no more transmission so we can achieve herd immunity. With billions of doses on their way, most people around the world are going to get it. But for now, everyone needs to take responsibility to remain safe.
7. Cold storage and distribution may become an issue
When scientists develop vaccines, they pass them through stability testing. Most vaccines need storage at a temperature of 2°C and 8°C. For the COVID-19 vaccines approved so far, they will need storage in -70°C to -20°C. That is if you want them to last for up to six months which is their normal lifespan.
If they are stored in 2°C to 8°C temperature, they won’t last more than 30 days. We know it can take very long to get the vaccines to the people that need them (3). COVID-19 vaccines need such low-temperature storage because they can become unstable. Heat is the enemy of vaccines, and ensuring stability is a priority for preservation.
8. You will need to follow safety guidelines after taking one.
After taking the COVID-19 vaccines, you will still need to follow safety guidelines. You will still need to wear your mask, observe social distancing, and wash your hands. There are many reasons for that. The vaccines won’t go around for everyone at once. It will take months or even years for everyone to get a shot.
Furthermore, after taking the vaccines, some people can still infect others so, we need to take responsibility. There are many people out there who are still very vulnerable. Everyone must play their part in stopping the infection from spreading.
9. Younger children will have to wait.
Most children don’t have to worry about getting a coronavirus infection. The disease is less effective in taking down people with strong immunity. Those who don’t have severe health issues don’t have to worry.
There are talks that some children may also need coronavirus vaccines. But they will have to wait. The current vaccines are not suitable for kids. Scientists are trying to find out how to make a vaccine version that kids can take.
10. People who already have COVID-19 still have to take it.
If you already have covid, you may still have to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Going through the infection and getting better means you have natural immunity. But it will be best if you still take the vaccine to ensure you have complete protection.
Taking the vaccine is beyond providing you with protection. It’s about stopping the transmission and ending the pandemic (4). You should know that at present, no one knows if the vaccines will provide long-term protection. What we know now is that it develops an immune response against reinfection for some period.