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COVID-19 vaccine | People should be warned about side effects, doctors tell US CDC

Doctors have said that people need to be prepared for the possibility that they may feel a little unwell after taking doses of the vaccine against COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

November 24, 2020 / 09:42 AM IST
Representative Image (Image: Reuters)

Representative Image (Image: Reuters)

Public health officials and drug makers must be transparent about the side effects people may experience after getting their coronavirus vaccine dose, doctors said during a meeting with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisers on November 23.

Doctors said that people need to be prepared for the possibility that they may feel a little unwell after taking the vaccine against COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

This comes at a time when multiple vaccine candidates have shown positive results and countries are preparing to grant emergency use authorisation. Some states in the US are hoping to start distributing doses as early as December.

Both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines—considered leading contenders for emergency use approval—require two doses at intervals. According to a report by CNBC, Dr Sandra Fryhofer of the American Medical Association expressed concern that her patients may not come back for the second dose due to the potentially unpleasant side effects they may experience after the first shot.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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During the meeting with Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a panel within the CDC, Fryhofer said patients should be made “aware that this (vaccination) is not going to be a walk in the park”.

“They are going to know they had a vaccine. They are probably not going to feel wonderful. But they’ve got to come back for that second dose,” CNBC quoted Fryhofer as saying.

Find all updates with Moneycontrol's COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker here.

Participants in Moderna and Pfizer’s clinical trials had told CNBC in September that they were experiencing high fever, body aches, bad headaches, daylong exhaustion and other symptoms after taking the shots.

These side effects often went away after a day or sometimes sooner, they said.

Both pharmaceuticals companies have acknowledged that their candidates may induce side effects that are similar to COVID-19 symptoms. These include muscle pain, headache and chills.

Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic
Moneycontrol News
first published: Nov 24, 2020 09:26 am

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