Vaccination Services in Las Vegas: All You Need to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19-Vaccines

As soon as the first information about the COVID-19 virus was obtained, scientists began to develop structures and vectors for vaccine production.According to WHO, more than 50 COVID-19 vaccine candidates are currently in various phases of clinical trials.So far, the vaccines of Pfizer, Maderna, and AstraZeneca have successfully passed the third phase of clinical studies.

Fortunately, countries like the United Kingdom have started vaccination on December 8, 2020, and the United States will begin vaccination before the end of 2020.

According to figures released by National Public Radio, the European Union and India have bought the most doses of the vaccine, followed by the United States and Britain. Based on this data, the US’s potential dose purchases are the highest compared to other countries in the world.

As you can see, after hearing the horrific statistics and disappointing news about COVID-19, now is the time for good news. Although it is not currently possible for experts to accurately predict when the pandemic will end, a hopeful prospect seems to be on the way.

In the following, we intend to provide you with the latest data you need to know before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine based on the most reliable sources.

 

The Vaccine Testing Process

Once scientists have designed a vaccine, they must evaluate it in various stages. The main purpose of clinical trials is to ensure safety, efficacy, and understanding of side effects. The clinical trials of a vaccine from the time it is designed to the time it releases the pharmaceutical market and mass production are:

 

  • Preclinical studies: At this stage, scientists test the new vaccine on cells and then on animals such as mice to ensure the vaccine can produce an immune response.
  • Phase 1 (Safety): At this stage, scientists study the effects of the new vaccine on a small number of people to check the safety, dosage, and immune system response.
  • Phase 2 (Expanded): At this stage, the main focus is on safety and immunity stimulation. In the second phase of studies, the vaccine will be tested on several hundred people.
  • Phase 3 (Efficacy): The research at this phase should be large enough to ensure the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety. Scientists also examine the possibility of side effects. So they give the vaccine to several thousand people and compare the results with the volunteers who received the placebo.
  • Approval: Regulators in each country review the clinical trial results and decide whether to approve or reject the vaccine. Even when the vaccine is approved, scientists continue to monitor people to ensure the vaccine is safe and effective.

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According to the CDC, as of November 24, 2020, the following vaccines were in the third phase of clinical trials in the United States:

 

candidate Sponsor institution
BNT162 Pfizer, BioNTech Multiple study sites in Europe, North America, and China
mRNA-1273 Moderna Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
AZD1222 The University of Oxford; AstraZeneca; IQVIA; Serum Institute of India The University of Oxford, the Jenner Institute
JNJ-78436735 (formerly Ad26.COV2.S) Johnson & Johnson Johnson & Johnson
NVX-CoV2373 Novavax Novavax

 

How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

COVID-19 vaccines are generally made in such a way that the body can be protected against the virus. Different vaccines work by different mechanisms, but the ultimate goal is for the body to be able to produce enough B and T lymphocytes. B and T lymphocytes are a kind of white blood cells that are involved in making antibodies and attacking infected cells.

 

After vaccination, the body needs some time to produce enough B and T lymphocytes. So keep in mind that just after vaccination, there is a possibility of getting infected because the immune system does not yet have enough time to provide the necessary protection.

 

Types of COVID-19 Vaccines

The mechanism of action of the COVID-19 vaccines, which are in the large-scale (Phase 3) studies or have completed this phase, is as follow:

  • mRNA vaccines: These vaccines contain viral materials that lead to building some proteins in our body. These proteins are unique to the virus, so our immune system recognizes them as foreign then produces T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes. These cells circulate in the blood and fight the virus when exposed to it. It is interesting to know that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are based on such an approach.
  • Protein subunit vaccines: They contain harmless components of the virus that do not cause disease in the body, but the body recognizes them as a foreign agent. So the immune system makes T lymphocytes and antibodies against them. Therefore if we get infected in the future, these memory cells will immediately detect the virus and fight it.
  • Vector vaccines: These vaccines contain live viruses, but they are very weak. These viruses are so weak that they can not cause disease in our bodies. After vaccination, the genetic material of the virus in our body leads to the production of proteins that are specific to the virus. In this way, the immune system makes B and T lymphocytes as memory cells to protect the body in the face of the virus. The vaccine, recently developed by the University of Oxford and successfully completed the third phase of clinical trials, is based on a viral vector.

Note that none of these vaccines can cause you to get COVID-19.

General Information About Available Vaccines

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

This vaccine must be administered as a 2-dose series, one month apart, into the muscle. The duration of protection against the virus is currently unknown. It should be noted that Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is approved for emergency use and is used to prevent COVID-19 in people over 18 years of age. You should not get this vaccine if you had:

  • A serious allergic reaction after the previous dose of the vaccine
  • A serious allergic reaction to any ingredient of this vaccine

Side effects that have been reported with this vaccine include:

General side effects:

  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever

 

Injection site reaction:

  • Pain
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Tenderness
  •  Redness

The risk of severe side effects following vaccination is very low. However, if these side effects occur, they may be noticeable minutes to an hour after the injection. Therefore, after the injection, the vaccination provider will ask you to stay in place for a while to take the necessary measures in case of severe symptoms. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • Swelling of the face and throat
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Confusion and weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rush

Contact 911 immediately if you have severe allergic symptoms.

 

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

Since the vaccine is thawed at room temperature, it should be stored at 2°C and 8°C. Vials that are at room temperature should be used within two hours. Also, thawed vaccines should not be re-frozen.

After vaccination, you should stay in place for a while to ensure that no dangerous allergic reactions occur:

  • People with a history of an immediate allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable therapy, as well as patients with an anaphylaxis background due to any cause, must be observed until 30 minutes after vaccination.
  • Other people should be observed for at least 15 minutes after vaccination.

The vaccine is also approved for people 18 years of age and older and should be used in two doses at least 21 days apart. If the second dose is used up to four days before the recommended date, it is still considered valid, but there is no maximum interval between the first and second dose.

 

Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine

Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine was approved for emergency use on February 27, 2021, by the US Food and Drug Administration. Adenovirus has been used in the production of this vaccine, which causes common colds in people. Researchers have inactivated the virus and used it to carry the COVID-19 virus gene into human cells. This vaccine is also used intramuscularly in people 18 years of age and older. Unlike previous vaccines, using one dose of Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine is enough to get maximum immunity.

35 to 46 °F is suitable for maintaining the stability of this vaccine for three months. Therefore, the transmission and distribution of this vaccine are relatively easier because this temperature is similar to the temperature of home refrigerators.

Tell the health care provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • Are breastfeeding, pregnant, or plan to become pregnant
  • Have received another COVID-19 vaccine
  • Have a bleeding disorder or use a blood thinner
  • Are immunocompromised or use immunosuppressive drugs
  • Have any allergies

The most commonly reported side effects are:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches

Most of these side effects appear within one to two days after vaccination and, in most cases, are mild to moderate.

 

Most COVID-19 Vaccines Require More Than One Shot

Most COVID-19 vaccines should be used in two doses. The first dose starts building protection and the second dose is the booster that will lead to the most protection.

 

Possible Side Effects

Some people may think that because of hasty clinical trials or that two of the approved vaccines contain viral mRNA, there is a potential for severe side effects. It should be noted that mRNA vaccines do not cause COVID-19 infection. Although these vaccines are new, they are not unknown. Scientists have been working on these vaccines for decades. Because these vaccines are made in the laboratory with available materials, their production process is standardized, and they are developed faster than traditional vaccines. Besides, mRNA vaccines have been used for diseases such as influenza, cytomegalovirus, and Zika. Even in cancer research, scientists use this approach to boost the immune system against cancer cells.

The good news is that new studies on the Pfizer vaccine have shown no major concern about dangerous side effects. The most reported side effects are pain at the injection site (84%), fatigue (63%), and headache(55%).

Generally, note that the injection site may become slightly red and inflamed after receiving the vaccine. Do not worry because these symptoms will go away on their own within a week. Some people may have a fever or headache. These signs show that your immune system is doing exactly what it needs to do, and your body is building up protection.

 

V-safe: After Vaccination Health Checker

V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to give personalized health check-ins after vaccination. This tool also reminds you to get your second vaccine dose if you need one. You need a smartphone to be able to use V-safe. You should also know about the vaccine you received. Vaccine information is explained on your vaccination card. You can refer to this link to register in v-safe.

 

When Will the Vaccines be Available in the US?

The first supply of the COVID-19 vaccine in the US is expected to be available before the end of 2020. Once the vaccine is approved in the United States, it may not be available to all adults at first, but vaccine supply will increase over time. The goal is for everyone to easily get the vaccine. After a while, many vaccination providers will be available, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.

All adults are expected to be vaccinated in 2021.  Note there is currently insufficient data on children; they can not get vaccinated.

 

How Much Does it Cost to Get the Vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines purchased with US taxpayer dollars will be given to the people at no cost. However, vaccination providers may charge an administration fee for giving the vaccine to someone. This cost can be covered by the patient’s public or private insurance company. The Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund can also cover the cost for uninsured patients.

 

Vaccination in People Who Have an Infection or Received Passive Antibody Therapy

If you already have an infection, you should still get vaccinated, regardless of whether you have any symptoms or not. But you should defer vaccination until the acute phase of the disease is over. Evidence suggests that people who become infected are less likely to become infected again within 90 days. Therefore, you can delay receiving the vaccine for up to 90 days. Viral testing and serologic testing are not recommended for vaccine decision-making. If you have undergone passive antibody therapy, you should delay the vaccination for up to 90 days.

 

Vaccination in People With Special Conditions

People with immunocompromised conditions or those taking immunosuppressive drugs are at risk for severe disease. If there is no contraindication, these patients can use COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. But they need to know there is no evidence about the safety of vaccination in these conditions.

If you suffer from a bleeding disorder or are taking blood-thinning medications, you can get vaccinated under the supervision of a doctor familiar with the patient’s bleeding risk.

A lactating person and pregnant women are part of a group that is recommended to receive the vaccine. But for vaccination in these people, the following factors should be considered:

  • Level of the virus community transmission
  • Personal risk of contracting COVID-19
  • Potential risks to the fetus
  • Side effects of the vaccine
  • Lack of enough data about thew vaccination in these groups

 

Should I Still Wear a Mask Despite Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Although the COVID-19 vaccine helps us get back to our real life, all tools must be used to stop this pandemic. Therefore, despite vaccination, you should still cover your mouth and nose with a suitable mask. You also need to keep your social distance from others and wash your hands regularly.

If you have this question in your mind, how long should you wear a mask? It should be noted that detailed information is not currently available to tell when you can stop wearing. Specialists should learn more about COVID-19 vaccine protection before making a decision. We must consider factors such as the number of people vaccinated and spreading the virus in various communities.

 

Let’s Sum Up…

As statistics and news show, COVID-19 is no longer so unknown and terrifying. Although clinical trials are ongoing and findings are constantly changing, we can think of a future without COVID-19.

Never forget the CDC’s recommendations, including wearing a mask, maintaining social distance with others, and washing your hands despite being vaccinated.

If you feel you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with an infected person, you may need to have COVID-19 testing. Talk to your health care provider about this.

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