COVID-19 Vaccines: Get The Facts

contributed by Mr. Jordan Mifsud teacher of Biology

Why get vaccinated against covid-19?

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect from the virus by creating an antibody response in your body without having to become sick with COVID-19. If you still get COVID-19 infection, the vaccine might keep you from becoming seriously ill. Getting vaccinated also helps protect people around you from COVID-19.

Are vaccines 100% effective against Covid-19?

No, but vaccines are more effective than all other preventative measures against infectious diseases. The Maltese authorities have authorised three vaccines against Covid-19; the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and lately the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Similarly to other vaccines, these vaccines have an efficacy rate between 95% and about 70%. For example, 95% of people who get the Pfizer vaccine are protected from becoming seriously ill with the virus.

Who should get vaccinated?

These vaccines are for people aged 16 and older. Most of these vaccines require two injections given 21-28 days apart. When in doubt, advise can be sought from a medical practitioner.

What does a covid-19 vaccine contain?

These vaccines use a molecule similar to DNA called messenger RNA (mRNA). They do not use the live virus. Coronaviruses have a spike-like structure on their surface called an S protein. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give cells instructions for how to make a harmless piece of an S protein. After vaccination, your cells begin making these protein pieces and displaying them on cell surfaces. Your immune system will recognise that the protein is foreign and begin producing antibodies against it.

Can I get sick with covid-19 after getting vaccinated? 

Not from the vaccine itself. Getting sick with covid after vaccination is possible but unlikely. It may take a few weeks for your body to build immunity after getting a COVID-19 vaccination. As a result, it’s possible that you could become infected with the virus just before or after being vaccinated.

Can the vaccine produce side effect?

Any vaccine can cause mild side effects after the first or second dose, including pain, redness or swelling where the shot was given. Fever, fatigue, headaches, muscle pain or chills may be experienced. Most side effects happen within the first three days after vaccination and typically last only one to two days. Even if you have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications, you may still get a COVID-19 vaccine.