Everything you should know about the COVID-19 vaccines

Claire Boon, News Editor

The world has been experiencing the global pandemic for almost a year now as it was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020. It seems that the pandemic just came up in early 2020 out of nowhere. However, this virus has been in existence for around 10,000 years in bird and bat species. Scientists have been trying to figure out a vaccine for 50 years because it was contracted by the first human in 1965. Since the pandemic began in March, the vaccine only took a year to make. 

The two vaccines are called the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. People need two shots because the first dose is meant to prepare the immune system, while the second dose is meant to completely strengthen the immune system. The separation period between each dose is twenty-one days. When asked about the urgency of the vaccine development process, Mrs. Sandy deCastro, who is a nurse and recently got the vaccine said, “I thought it came pretty fast. They are using it under emergency so it was first tracked through the clinical trial process.” Considering the second fastest developed vaccine, the mumps vaccine, took 4 years to create, the vaccine for covid was developed very quickly 

It is said that after the second dose, side effects are felt more than after the first dose. The side effects include: soreness in the injection site, fever, fatigue, headache, chills and body aches. The arm soreness oftentimes is only the result of the first injection. Following the injection, patients take a survey regarding the side effects they have experienced. Side effects sometimes feel like the flu and it may be difficult to complete daily activities. 

There are always skeptics regarding the vaccine. “Anti-vaxxers” are people who have an opposition to vaccines. Some people oppose vaccines as a religious exemption, even though most mainstream religions do not condemn the use of vaccines. But, the most common reason why people do not trust vaccines is because they believe that the risks outweigh the benefits. One example is the popular theory (that has been debunked) that vaccines cause autism. The ingredient, thimerosal is theorised to be the cause of autism as it is in some flu vaccines. The theory that thimerosal causes autism has been debunked in a wide array of studies. I asked what the nurse, Mrs. deCastro, would say to people opting out of getting the covid vaccine and she responded, “I’d ask them to reconsider because this is an important step in stopping the pandemic that has killed 370,000 people already. The vaccine is safe and it is not a live virus.”

It has been said that after you have had COVID-19 you cannot get it again. Is that always true? The case of reinfection is rare, but not impossible.  Antibodies are molecules that are produced as a reaction to the infection. They block the infection from coming up again. But they do not stick around forever. It is said that in some patients the antibodies have only been around in the bloodstream for sixty days. Across Europe, there have been five cases of reinfection of the coronavirus. When asked the question, “If someone has already had COVID-19, do they still need to get vaccinated?” Mrs. deCastro responded with, “Yes, because we do not know how long the natural immunity works, they are recommending that you still get the vaccine”. 

To get the best results from the vaccine, it is best to get tested often, stay at home if possible, wear a mask, and be self aware; meaning that if people have any symptoms like, cough, loss taste or smell, etc. they should consult a doctor. The first priority of who gets the vaccine are frontline workers and people who are 75+ years old. After these people are taken care of, next are 65+, people 16+ with underlying medical issues, and other essential workers.